At this week’s California State University Board of Trustees meeting, the trustees will review an agenda item that will inform them of the CSU’s intention to change the terminology used to refer to certain charges assessed to students from “fees” to “tuition”.
For decades the state of California has used the term “education fees” to refer to the money that it charges students for college.
This euphemism became a problem last year, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times, because “the state’s use of the word ‘fee’ had threatened federal financial aid assistance to veterans, which is based on the amount of “tuition” charged to resident students. The universities had to fight to restore the aid.”
Technically both the University of California and Cal State are prohibited from charging tuition by the California Master Plan for Higher Education of 1960. Education fees are for supplementary costs, like dormitories and parking. Actual education costs are supposed to be funded by the state. Since the 1980s, however, California has used the education fee as if were tuition.