Editorial: About time

Rising tuition has become commonplace in higher education and each academic year comes with a slightly greater increase than the last. ASU In-state costs went from roughly $5,400 during the 2008-09 academic year to more than $8,500 this year. Thankfully, for in-state undergraduates, the end of the increases is in sight.

ASU President Michael Crow submitted a proposal to the Arizona Board of Regents Friday that requested a 0 percent tuition increase for in-state undergraduates, while out-of-state undergraduates and all graduate students face a 3 percent increase.

For perspective, freshmen in-state tuition increased about 18 percent from 2010 to 2011.

Crow released a video statement Friday explaining the reasoning behind his proposal. State budget reductions have been the main culprit for the increases, and the 2012 budget cut $207 million from all three state universities. Gov. Jan Brewer has proposed returning $30.3 million to state universities in her 2013 fiscal budget. If approved, Crow’s tuition proposal would be a step in the right direction, but still leaves many students struggling to come up with the money.

House Bill 2675 recently made it through the House Appropriations Committee, bringing students closer to paying $2,000 of their tuition out-of-pocket. This bill leaves many students concerned, particularly those on need-based scholarships.

ASU seems committed to doing its best to help students, and the tuition freeze is a nice start, but this is far from a solution to higher education’s ever-increasing cost.

Students are scared.

“It does call on all of us to understand that this is a very modest increase,” Crow said in the video.

He went on to say tuition cost should be predictable going forward, but after the dramatic increases from just one year ago, students should be wary of taking comfort.

We want no increase, and we want it over an extended period of time.

The extra $3,000 for in-state tuition since 2008 doesn’t show up in the classrooms. Classes aren’t smaller, books aren’t cheaper and the average 2012 senior is paying 35 percent more for the same level of education he or she received as a freshman.

What is encouraging, though, is Michael Crow’s execution of his long-term plans for the University. There might still be trepidation from students about the cost of schooling, but it appears Crow has the cost on his mind. Plus, if the goal is to one day have 100,000 students at ASU, the education has to be affordable.

 

Click here to subscribe to the daily State Press newsletter.