Guest Editorial: Gregg Fuller on CSUN

Frequent b.la commenter Gregg Fuller wrote in about a situation at Cal State Northridge and I decided to publish it. I’m absolutely NOT going to make a habit out of this so don’t even think of e-mailing me some rant. Get your own blog for that king of thing. Anyway, here’s Gregg…

I am a student at Cal State University Northridge and am generally
happy about the education and policies that my school has put into
effect. There are some things that I’ve found fairly questionable,
however, in the three years that I’ve been attending. The parking
situation, the rise in the cost of tuition, and the latest offense in
the computerized payment system that the University has instituted.

The parking situation at CSUN is absolutely horrendous. Since the
parking structure collapsed in the 1994 Nrothridge Earthquake,
students have been hard pressed to find any parking if they arrive
after 9am. The parking situation has forced me to take classes at 8 in
the morning every day simply to find parking easily. In addition to
the parking woes, they closed a parking lot 3 semesters ago to build a
structure that should be ready for use by Fall, but I’m not holding my
breath, as evidenced by my schedule plans for Fall including 8am
classes. The only issue I have with the parking difficulties is that
we’re paying $126 per semester to participate in the mad rush for
parking. But this is all a minor problem compared to the other issues
that students are facing.

Tuition costs at CSUN have skyrocketed since my first semester there.
Including the parking permit, my first semester at CSUN cost
approximately $1100. Fall my seventh semester at the school, tuition
is now over $1500. None of this includes the hundreds of dollars for
books either, but that’s a whole different story. My first two
semesters were paid by rewards that Gov. Gray Davis implemented for
students who performed well on the Stanford 9 tests that were touted
as being terriblly important during my years in Middle and High
School. After that my education has been put on a low-interest miles
card that allows me to put my education toward possible travel after I
graduate. Although $1500 isn’t that much more than $1100, it’s still
ridiculous considering that $400 dollar increase is 37% of my original
tuition at the school. Add into the cost of commuting with rising gas
prices, and cost of books, going to the inexpensive state school
becomes a costly affair. But this is all easy to handle with properly
managed credit.

Bringing me to my point. The new electronic payment system, that
replaced a working electronic payment system that was intuitive and
made payment online easy, has problems with it that are causing stress
to many students, including myself. The new system through a third
party company known as “CashNet” charges any student who wants to use
a credit card to pay their tuition an additional 2.9% as a convenience
fee. $1518 + 2.9% = $1562 + parking + books. Lovely, an extra 43
dollars just to do what I’ve been doing the last 4 semesters, but
another problem that I was willing to overlook. So I open the payment
page and type in my credit card number and all the info that goes
along with it, click the submit button, and am greeted with an error
message. “Due to circumstances beyond our control we cannot accept
VISA cards at this time.” Not only do I have to pay extra, but I am
unable to use the card I have. Way to go CSUN, making it easy for
students to want to just give up. Now I have to write a cash advance
check for tuition, show up in person, pay the 3-4% my credit card
company charges me to use the check. There’s a litany of complaints I
have about this new system, where am I to turn to voice my issues?

7 Replies to “Guest Editorial: Gregg Fuller on CSUN”

  1. Your complaints are completely valid, but it sounds like you’re getting the same deal students at one of california’s public colleges and universities are getting. They’re still a “bargain” compared to similar institutions nationwide, but we had a much better deal just a few years ago. I don’t know if it would help, but bug the hell out of your student representatives. They are there for a reason. Parking sucks at UCLA too, fees have gone up at all the public institutions of higher education in the state (I’m feeling this too), and new buildings are always behind schedule.

  2. w00t, go Gregg! And that sucks, OMG. If anything else, you are keeping your math skills up. Not to mention good credit habits (read deathly fear of credit).

  3. I totally understand your frustration. After putting in the energy and time to resolve all those concerns, I often found I had little drive left to do what I came for…LEARN SOMETHING.

    I was recently considering going back to school for an MA…then I visited the school’s web page and was actually nauseated by the thought of enduring the torture for two more years.

    It seems more like a bad consumer experience every day. Long lines, price gouging, poor customer service, and lack of supply for the most demanded items. The only difference is that if you hate the store, you don’t go back, or you complain and get your refund.

    Hang in there is all the advice I have to offer, unfortunately.

  4. I just transferred to CSUN last semester, coming from a college in Bakersfield where the parking was $35 for the semester. The prices are HIGH yes, but I NEVER had a problem finding a spot for my 12:30 or 4:00 classes. [Waiting a few minutes and driving around are par for the course in any parking lot.]
    Are you leaving too late? And after you start whining about making your drive longer, I drive almost 2 hours to get to school (I still live in Bakersfield)
    As for the price hike on your charge card, anyone who has ever worked in retail knows that Visa, Mastercard etc. charge a percentage of all transactions to vendors (thats how they make money on top of the interest you are charged) for the “priveledge” of allowing credit card transactions. After paying these added fees, it seems that CSUN is just passing that charge onto students.
    Unfair yes, Unreasonable no.
    The budget gets smaller and smaller for all the Cal State systems, and when that happens who pays for it? Us.
    That being said, I am not attacking your plight, just pointing out some bigger-picture situations. May I recommend taking out an subsidized student loan? I have one that is 1.9%, and interest can be paid while still in school. You could take out loans and then pay them off with your credit card.

  5. Parking’s worse at UCLA, and more expensive. Try this: stop paying for parking permits, park your car a couple miles away, and take the bus in to school. (You can find plenty of free parking in the neighborhoods off of Nordhoff St, which has regular bus service.) Now you can attend classes any time you want. Please lose the sense of entitlement regarding parking and credit cards–both are losing propositions for public school budgets. And as the saying goes, if you think education is expensive, try ignorance.

  6. The problem with Cash Net, and the way they take care of business is unrighteous to students. This is my story that took place today 01-03-2006. I paid for my classes through Cash Nets system, and wanted to add my classes right after paying, but Cal State LA’s system did not get the news that I just dropped over a grand to Cash Net. Iím making a suggestion, why doesnít Cash Net send some extra staff over to help Cal State LAís staff; to help offset the rush of payments during the first two weeks of a new quarter. Hmm a Contract with a State University pays pretty well I do believe. Cash Net did send me an email, that said I should be able to add my classes the next day, but who cares, every hour, minute, and second that goes by my fellow students are taking my seat that I paid for, further I am unable to add, because Cash Nutís has literally tied my hands behind my back, and they are kicking me in the ribs, and are making me watch while the seats available for my classís diminish to No seats available; Unfortunately the only thing I can do right now is wait till the morning, so I wrote this paragraph to let off some steam. What a big disappointment, to pay for my classes and not be able to use the online services provided by my school, because Cash Net is to slow, especially after they charged me 30 bucks to use their service. Yes I did consider this factor of payment; subsequently this was a way to justify paying their charges to get a seat in the class. Cash nUtís site does warn you that it may take a few days. Nevertheless you have to look around for this information. My point is they suck, and I WILL NEVER EVER USE THEM AGAIN (if I have any choices), I would rather stand in a hour long line just to have the satisfaction of knowing that I can add my class right then and there after I pay, and I always pay by CASH!! Normally. Big E. Cal State LA Undergrad. PS Iím normally not an angry student, but Iím to close to graduating not to care, about myself and my fellow students, that I thought, should know what happens when you follow Their rules Happy New Year to all…

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