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Cal State students speak out against 'student success fees'

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These days a college degree can be expensive, even one from a public university.

This week, University of California officials proposed raising tuition by as much as 5 percent each year for the next five years. The California State University system has always been considered a less expensive alternative, but prices are on the rise there, too. 

A few years back, some CSU campuses started introducing what they dubbed "student success fees," which run anywhere from $30 to nearly $800 a year, to make up for budget cuts.

Administrators say the fees are necessary for things like longer library hours, more classes, and more advisors. But some faculty and students say the fees are just a way to shift more costs to the students without technically raising tuition.

Jesse Brown, a senior at California State University, East Bay, pays $240 a year in "success fees." 

He says most students on campus aren't aware of the fees and "there's no real effort made to inform the students of where these fees go."

Kristal Raheem, a senior at Sonoma State University, says she was concerned when she first became aware of the fees.

"They were not going to be covered by financial aid," Raheem says. "Low income, first-generation students and working students were going to have to pay out of pocket for these fees or take out extra loans."

She and other students successfully petitioned Sonoma State to drop the fees earlier this year.