California State University, San Bernardino

CSUSB ASI launches digital campaign to combat tuition hike

California State University System’s proposed tuition increase is scheduled to take place in the 2018-2019 academic year, and with that date drawing near, the CSUSB Associated Students Incorporated (ASI) has launched “Scan Me Before It Costs You” to help students fight the hike.

This digital campaign involves the placement of various signs on campus that say “Scan Me Before It Costs You” with a QR code. Once the code is scanned using an iOS device camera or application, it will direct users to the ASI website where they can learn more about the increase and how to take action against it.

The QR codes can be found on lawn signs, posters, and handouts that ASI has distributed across campus. These materials are mostly located at the entrance of buildings, along walkways, and on poster boards.

“Scan Me Before It Costs You” is lead by Melissa Patton, Director of External Affairs for ASI, who was able to create this campaign with the help of her legislative team.

“The idea was to connect with students in the most accessible way possible,” explained Patton. “With digital platforms including social media now a main source of information, we knew this was the route we needed to take to get the most engagement. It’s simple, sustainable, and straight to the point.”

State investment in the CSU system was formerly 80 percent in the mid-1990s, but the state now invests 55 percent while remaining expenses are funded by tuition and fees.

Governor Brown shared his budget plan for the 2018-19 fiscal year in January, where he allocated $92.1 million to the CSU versus the requested $263 million, resulting in a $170 million shortfall.

ASI continues to stand in opposition to the tuition increase, which would impact the student body at CSUSB — 63 percent of which are low-income students and 80 percent receive some form of financial aid.

The increase amount varies based on degree type. Charts on the ASI website show the lowest increase being an $8 fee change for graduate business professionals and the highest a $1,032 increase for students pursuing a doctorate in physical therapy.

“Our hope for this campaign is to increase awareness about this important and powerful issue. This will affect every student on our campus and within the CSU system,” Patton said. “The goal is to generate support and to provide students with a platform where they are able to voice their concerns to our state legislators, Governor Brown, and the CSU Board of Trustees who are the decision makers on this issue.”

In contrast, if there was to be no tuition increase and the state would not fund the CSU, fewer course selections would be available to students, the average unit load would go down, and less academic and student support services would be available.

That is why the ASI Lobby Corps is preparing to take nine students to Sacramento to urge state representatives to vote on a budget that fully supports the CSU system. Their reach also remains on campus as they encourage students to write letters to urge the Board of Trustees to vote against the tuition increase in May.

“It is amazing being a part of this campaign. It is our responsibility to continue serving our students at this magnitude. I really enjoy having face-to-face conversations with my fellow peers and informing them of why this is being proposed and how we are trying to stop it,” Patton said.

Students can participate in the cause by clicking the “Take Action” button and completing the digital letter on the QR code website. Once the letter is completed, ASI will forward a copy to  state representatives and Governor Brown encouraging them to vote on a state budget that fully supports the CSU System. ASI will also send a letter to the CSU Board of Trustees to urge them to vote against a tuition increase.