California Faculty Association Resolution Supporting Free Public Higher Education in the CSU
Adopted by the CFA Assembly • March 11, 2017

WHEREAS, the CSU should be accessible, meaning that:

California’s public system of higher education should be accessible to students in accordance with the Master Plan; and that

In accordance with the California Master Plan, cost should not prevent any qualified students from attending the CSU; and that

For these students, the CSU should be tuition‐free because even the specter of having to pay tuition bills that increase regularly and navigate a complex financial aid system is a roadblock that deters qualified students from going to college at all; and because filling out the FAFSA alienates potential students, particularly those who are first generation, students of color, and working class students; and that

Students should be able to access a system of grants and work‐study programs that are sufficient to allow them to attend the CSU without working excessive hours per week and incurring a lifelong burden of debt; and

WHEREAS, the CSU should remain a public institution and acknowledge that:

The state has a duty to provide high quality and accessible higher education to its residents; and that

The system should be tuition‐free for both undergraduate and graduate students in the CSU because so many graduate degrees offered by the CSU directly benefit the state; and that

Free, accessible, public higher education is a public good, benefiting not only students, but all residents of California, and our democracy; and that
A precedent has been set for free public higher education in California at the City College of San Francisco; and that

The state must increase its funding for the CSU. Since 1985, funding for the CSU has actually decreased by 2.9 percent while the student body has grown 64%; and that

This disinvestment has occurred while the proportion of students of color has increased to 62% as compared to 27% in 1985; and that

This system should honor the life circumstances of students by not penalizing them for creating their own education plan that allows them to proceed at their own pace without institutional impediments; and

WHEREAS, the CSU must provide high‐quality education recognizing that: 

Access to public higher education should not come at the expense of quality; and that

The faculty should have primary control over curriculum, programs, and course content through the system of shared governance; and that

Faculty, students, and whole campus communities require academic freedom to foster the free exchange of ideas; and that

Faculty need to be supported in their service to students with appropriate salaries and benefits and supportive working conditions; and that

Students should have sufficient access to course offerings, advising, and student services to assist them on their path to degree; and that

Both the diversity and tenure density of the faculty need to be dramatically increased without the loss of lecturer faculty positions to better mentor and serve students; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that CFA support efforts to:

Secure clear, unfettered, and tuition‐free access for all CSU students eligible under the California Master Plan for Higher Education—both undergraduate and graduate; and to  

Maintain high‐quality education in the CSU; and to  

Ensure that each CSU student graduate at a pace that accords with their personal goals, without debt, and ready to embark on their career path as an educated and highly‐skilled Californian who can serve the needs of the state.   

Adopted by the CFA Assembly March 11, 2017