Student suing SF State after fee increase

by Tenzin Shakya, staff writer

A suit against SF State for breach of contract was denied Monday, August 30, by San Francisco City commissioner Paul Slavit after a two and a half month battle in a small claims court over the school’s 30 percent fee increase.

The plaintiff is SF State student Angela Yuen Uyeda, a communications major graduating next semester. According to court documents, Uyeda requested a reimbursement of a $336 fee increase.

“The increase was a retroactive fee increase for one semester after a fixed amount had been agreed to and paid,” she said in an e-mail sent to [X]Press. “I understand that the fees can be raised, but a deal is a deal.”

Uyeda adds that the “Cal State University system has made a series of rapid-fire tuition and fee increases that have caught students by surprise and created financial turmoil for students and families.”

Due to the latest rounds of California’s budget cuts, the California State University board of trustees voted to raise student fees on June 22.

An email was sent out by the SF State registrar’s office notifying them of the fee increase and another notifying them of of their inability “to register during their Early Priority Registration date and time unless all appropriate fees have been paid.” The fee deadline for students to make final tuition payments was July 8.

Had Yuen not paid the additional $336 she would have lost her priority registration date, requiring her to compete for her classes just weeks before school started.

“The issue with raising student fees is due to the state budget cuts,” said Mike Uhlenkamp, Spokesperson for the CSU system. “We had to find other resources to provide access to the students and it was an unfortunate option but one we had to investigate and implement. ”

The commissioner ruled in favor of the University, citing that no money was owed to Uyeda, meaning the she will not be reimbursed the $336.

“We appreciate the court’s quick and thorough decision, said SF State Spokesperson Ellen Griffin. “Fee increases are truly unfortunate, but as this decision demonstrates, the University acted appropriately.”

Uyeda believes the court ruled in SF State’s favor because she may have failed to make clear to the judge that the retroactive fee increase was not set in stone at the time she paid for the July 2009 tuition.

“I believe the University successfully misrepresented that this policy had always been in force,” she said. “Well, I’ll be better prepared next time. Anyway, the real issue is much larger than my personal law suit.

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