During the fall of 2021, the Cal Poly Academic Affairs Office submitted a proposal to increase the college-based fee.
On Monday, the university informed students via email that the proposal had been approved for the 2022-2023 school year.
This plan will only increase payments for newly enrolled students in the fall of 2022, not affecting those currently enrolled at Cal Poly. This allows prospective students to see the increase in fees and their total financial aid offer before making a final decision about which college to attend this fall.
Depending on the college, the newly enrolled students in the class of 2022-2023 will pay a student-based fee between $1,361-$1,908, an increase from the current fee of between $648-$1,044. The fees will continue to increase and cap at $3,605-$4,635 in the 2026-27 school year.
The Cal Poly College Based Fee Student Aid and Learn by Doing Plan is intended to make the university more affordable for in-state students coming from low and middle-income families, to diversify the campus community, and to cut down on the expense of attendance in comparison to other state schools offering more aid.
Cal Poly is more expensive than many schools in the University of California system because UC's provide more financial aid. Part of the goal of this plan is to offset some of those costs making Cal Poly a more accessible choice for low and middle-income California students.
Cal Poly responded to us by saying in part, "...for families with incomes less than $90,000 per year, Cal Poly's cost of attendance after factoring in financial aid is $2,000 to $5,000 more expensive than the UC's," said Cal Poly Media Relations Director, Matt Lazier.
Sixty percent of the students-based fee revenue will fund financial aid and scholarships for low and middle-income in-state students. The other 40% will fund the university's Learn by Doing academic programs.
Most students we spoke to said they think the student-based fee increase will have a positive impact on the school.
"I think getting more people to come to school is a great thing overall. You can't go wrong there," said Cal Poly student, Lucas Williams.
"The increase in tuition never feels good for everybody, but if it's going towards scholarships for low and middle-income people it's a great call," said Cal Poly student, Andrew Gallivan.
"...but I think overall it will help low income more than it will deficit middle income," said Cal Poly student, Gabriel Letchford.
...but others are frustrated by the increase in fees at a school that is already expensive.
"Frustration in the sense of looking at education costs across other CSU's and other state schools, Cal Poly having one of the highest ones in the state," said Cal Poly student Erik Mauk.
Mauk added that this is making education less accessible for students who miss the low and middle-income classifications but are still funding their college education through student loans.
Throughout the last couple of weeks, Cal Poly has conducted 42 presentations to 65 campus groups and three campus-wide open forums, giving students an opportunity to learn, ask questions and better understand the initiative.