CSU students lose in court case seeking fee reimbursement

A jury has decided in favor of California State University after students sued to get $80 million in reimbursements for fees imposed in 2009. Cal State LA

A Bay Area jury has decided against California State University students who sued the 23-campus system claiming administrators should not have approved a fee increase in 2009.

Late Thursday, a jury in the Keller v. CSU trial found that university trustees acted reasonably when they approved a $350 per student fee increase during the economic recession and that students should have expected it. It was the second fee increase for the semester.

Cal State General Counsel Framroze Virjee said the jury’s verdict affirms that the university’s board of trustees can enact double fee increases as a last resort.

"In the future, it could be that the board will need to raise fees again and, in a significant tsunami like the financial tsunami that we saw with the recession, they may might have to do it again twice," he said.

The lawsuit could have cost Cal State more than $80 million dollars if had been ordered to reimburse the fees to 175,000 students.

Jim Finberg, the lawyer for the students, said he hasn’t decided whether to appeal the verdict.

The jury decision comes as CSU debates student fees and examines the high cost of attending universities. Students have been protesting the higher fees, staging one march at the trustees' meeting in November

In January, the trustees approved a new policy calling for students to vote on any increases in so-called student success fees.