What is the College Based Fee?
This is a type of Campus Academic Fee, which supports educational quality, student learning / progress to degree, and institutional productivity. We chose the College Based Fee (CBF) for this proposed increase because it is directly related to students and our academic mission. This fee was first collected during the 2002-2003 academic year.
The revenue from the CBF currently goes directly to the six colleges, and that same amount will continue to go to the colleges if the proposed increase is approved (more to CLA than it gets now).
How much is the current college-based fee?
The current annual College Based fee per college for students is $1,044 for the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences (CAFES), the College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED), the College of Engineering (CENG), the College of Science and Mathematics (CSM), and the Orfalea College of Business (OCOB). The current College Based Fee for the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) is $648.
More information about the current College Based Fee is in more detail on the background page.
Information about the current fee amounts are located on the Tuition and Fees webpage.
Complete information about the current College Based Fee is available at the Cal Poly OpenBook Portal.
How much would the fee change? What type of changes will I see in the future?
Currently enrolled students will not see any change to their college-based fee. Each cohort will pay the same college-based fee throughout their undergraduate tenure.
Incoming students in Fall 2022 would pay an additional college specific fee amount ranging from $614 - $864/year; this represents a 6% to 8.5% annual increase of total tuition and fees. These students will continue to pay the same college-based fee throughout their undergraduate tenure at Cal Poly; subsequent cohorts would pay an additional 4.9% to 7.7% annual increase of total tuition and fees compared to the previous cohort for years 2, 3 and 4.
The intent of this proposal is to allow each college to retain revenue generated by the current CBF ($1,044 per student); the new revenues would be administered by the Provost. However, the current CBF for the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) is significantly lower than those for other colleges. To ensure equity, the CLA CBF will be raised over four cohorts (years) to $1,044 and CLA will retain the revenue generated up to that new amount. Additional CLA CBF generated in future years, above the $1,044 floor, would be administered by the Provost.
By the end of year four, the fees for our high-investment colleges (College of Engineering [CENG], College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science [CAFES], and the College of Architecture and Environmental Design [CAED]) would be higher than the fees for the remaining colleges.
These changes are summarized in the table below:
Cal Poly Proposed CBF 21-22 22-23 23-24 24-25 25-26 26-27 High Investment CBF (CAED, CAFES, CENG) $1,044 $1,908 $2,772 $3,636 $4,500 $4,635 Annual Change $864 $864 $864 $864 $135 Annual Change as % of Tuition & Fees / 26-27 on a % of CBF 8.5% 7.7% 7.1% 6.6% 3.0% Net Fee Increase of 21-22 $864 $1,728 $2,592 $3,456 $3,591 Regular Investment CBF (CSM, OCOB) $1,044 $1,658 $2,272 $2,886 $3,500 $3,605 Annual Change $614 $614 $614 $614 $105 Annual Change as % of Tuition & Fees / 26-27 on a % of CBF 6.0% 5.6% 5.3% 4.9% 3.0% Net Fee Increase of 21-22 $614 $1,228 $1,842 $2,456 $2,561 CLA CBF $648 $1,361 $2,074 $2,787 $3,500 $3,605 Annual Change $713 $713 $713 $713 $105 Annual Change as % of Tuition & Fees / 26-27 on a % of CBF 7.0% 6.5% 6.0% 5.6% 3.0% Net Fee Increase of 21-22 $713 $1,426 $2,139 $2,852 $2,957
When was the last time this fee was adjusted?
The fee was originally created in 2002 and is adjusted using the three-year average of the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI).
Can I opt out of the fee?
All Cal Poly students are required to pay this Category II Fee as a condition of enrollment. This fee will apply to newly admitted students beginning fall 2022. A list of all fees and their descriptions can be found on the Registration and Tuition webpage.
What is a Category II Fee?
Category II Fees are “fees that must be paid to enroll in or attend the university.” The category of fees is established by the CSU Board of Trustees. A list of all fees and their descriptions can be found on the Registration and Tuition webpage.
What is the process for getting a Category II Fee approved?
The university follows the process outlined in CSU Executive Order 1102, which addresses how fees can be adjusted on campus.
How much of the fee is set aside for Financial Aid?
At least 60% of new, incremental revenue generated by the college-based fee increase will be used to support greater financial aid and fund merit-based scholarships through the first four years. Additionally, an aggressive fundraising campaign will be initiated to further augment support for financial aid and scholarships for all students at Cal Poly.
Will all students have to pay the fee adjustment?
All Cal Poly students are required to pay this Category II Fee as a condition of enrollment. This fee will apply to newly admitted students (first-time first years and transfers) beginning Fall 2022.
When will the fee increase start?
If approved, the fee increase will begin with the new student cohort beginning in Fall 2022.
If the fee is implemented, what will change?
Implementing the plan and establishing CBF Student Aid will significantly decrease the net cost of attendance for students with family incomes less than or equal to $90,000 per year because they will be receiving larger financial aid packages thanks to CBF Student Aid. In addition, students from families with incomes between $90,000 and $150,000 will pay less than they would if we do not implement the plan.
Students with family incomes over $150,000 will pay more to attend Cal Poly in total cost of attendance with the implementation of this plan. However, Cal Poly will continue to be lower in cost than the University of California (UC) campuses for students from families with incomes over $150,000.
This plan will enhance Learn by Doing for all students. Learn by Doing opportunities for students include many things, from harvesting crops to building stage sets, from designing satellites to drafting legislation, from lab research to field experiments. Learn by Doing is more expensive than less hands-on methods of education. Some majors require more investment than others. We think it's well worth it. But we can't do more without more resources.
Why are you rolling the new fee out only to new students?
When adjusting fees, it is standard practice for the university to implement the changed fee with next new student cohort. By assessing the new fee to new students and not changing the fee for current students, we can ensure that this change does not come as unexpected increase in costs for currently enrolled students.
What will happen if the fee adjustment is not implemented?
The total cost of attendance (tuition, fees, books, room and board) goes up every year due to inflation, built-in cost increases, cost of living adjustments, and so on. If the CBF adjustment is not implemented, those cost increases would be passed on to all students regardless of family income.
Can you break down where the new funds will go?
60% of the new fee revenue will be used to provide financial aid and scholarships through the first four years. The remainder of the funding will go towards the academic mission in support of teaching, scholarship and service in a Learn by Doing environment where cross-disciplinary and co-curricular experiences can thrive. After the first four years, there may be some adjustments to the exact split, depending on the availability of other resources (for example, donations to support financial aid) and mission-critical needs (for example, recruiting and retaining faculty or ensuring enough class sections are available to students).
How can we learn how the funds are spent in the future?
The deans of the six colleges will submit annual reports to the President and Provost outlining how the colleges used their CBF revenue.
The Provost will submit an annual report to the President on the use of the CBF above the baseline fees that are administered directly by the colleges.
The President and the Provost will submit an annual report on CBF revenue and expenditure to the Academic Senate and ASI.
Is there another way to pay for increasing financial aid and better supporting the university's academic mission?
At full implementation, the proposed increase would generate $52 million per year. The university has only three significant sources of money—state support, tuition and fees, and donations.State support has dropped 10% each decade since 1990 (measured as purchasing power), and $52 million represents about a third of what we currently receive each year. It seems very unlikely that Cal Poly will be able to reverse the decades-long decline in state financing and instead get a permanent increase of ~33%.
As for donations, to generate $52 million every year into the future would require an endowment of $1.3 bllion earning 4% after expenses. That's roughly six times Cal Poly's current endowment of $200 million and represents more than the total amount raised during our last capital campaign, much of which was donated to support particular projects like buildings. Here, too, it doesn't seem likely that Cal Poly will be able to rapidly and dramatically increase donations enough to support the needs the CBF proposal addresses.
How can increasing fees make it less expensive for students to attend Cal Poly?
For students whose family income is less than $90,000 a year, the increased financial aid will actually reduce their total cost of attendance. For students with family incomes between $90,000 and $150,000, the increased aid will slow the rate of increase of total cost of attendance, compared to the likely rate of increase without the additional aid.
For students with family incomes above $150,000, total cost of attendance will increase. As a reminder, Cal Poly will continue to be lower in cost than the University of California (UC) campuses for students from families with incomes over $150,000.
What is an alternative consultation?
The alternative consultation process is designed to share information with students to assist them in developing an informed opinion on the fee proposal. A referendum only captures a Yes or a No, while a consultation gathers student ideas about possible changes or improvements to the proposal, which may influence its final form. The university may use alternative consultation to obtain advice from the student body on a proposal to establish or adjust a campus-based Category II Fee.
Why was alternative consultation selected rather than a referendum?
Alternative consultation allows us to solve problems inherent in the process of current students making decisions for future students. On the one hand, current students are generally well positioned to be able to anticipate how future students will feel about the central issue: will they think a higher CBF, along with better financial aid, was worth it or not? On the other hand, current students won't pay the higher CBF themselves, and if the CBF proposal is approved, future students will be more socioeconomically diverse than current students, so there may be significant differences in the two groups' perspectives.
How will students, in general, be educated about the fee?
Students will be informed throughout the process on how to learn more about the proposal and how to submit their opinions.
Per CSU policy, official notifications will be sent to students on January 5 to inform students of the consultation process, comment submission process, and details about the open forums.
This website includes detailed information about the proposal and supplemental information such as FAQs, for (pro) and against (con) statements, and open forum and presentation details.
In addition, there will be notifications such as but not limited to portal announcements, print and digital advertisements, and informational handouts.
How can I engage with the process and provide my feedback
We are committed to educating students and supporter groups about this initiative.
We encourage you to attend an open forum, where you can learn more and share your opinion and ideas about the proposed CBF fee increase. The open forum information is available at afd.calpoly.edu/openforums.
Where do I go to learn more about the fee adjustment online?
To read the fee proposal objective statement, background information and more, please visit afd.calpoly.edu/cbf.