Regents committee discusses need for funding, raising tuition

The Arizona Board of Regents Business and Finance Committee met Friday to discuss issues surrounding tuition, room and board rates for the 2013 academic year.

Most of the regents were in attendance to participate in the discussions, though not all of them are members of the committee.

The Board president, Eileen Klein, and the three state university presidents were also in attendance.

The full board will take final action on the issues at next week’s meeting.

The university presidents pushed for higher tuition rates during the meeting.

They said they need more funding to grow their programs and investments.

UA President Ann Weaver Hart said UA was not able to meet its goals last year, specifically in the areas of grants and transfer students.

NAU President John Haeger said he plans to invest in more tenure and tenure-track faculty who will increase NAU’s research activity.

Haeger said NAU has deferred maintenance issues it must deal with as well.

“We have buildings that are literally falling apart,” he said.

ASU President Michael Crow said the last year without tuition increases was a calculated risk for the University and described it as “a performance that is a function of blood and sweat.”

“We are beyond the limits of our institution’s capabilities,” he said. “Last year was a one-year aberration on our part.”

The University has lost $965 per student per year, even with tuition increases, since system funding started to decline a few years ago, Crow said.

ASU is requesting 3 percent tuition increase for all students at all campuses. This increase will bring the total base tuition and fees to $10,002 for in-state students and $23,654 for out-of-state students.

The University requested a 2 percent increase for room rates and 2.8 percent increase for meal plans.

Professor James Rund, senior vice president for educational outreach and student services, said the University is competitive enough to ensure full occupancy of campus housing next year.

ASU requested increased fees for some programs as well.

Regent Dennis DeConcini said he was concerned about telling students their tuition would only increase 3 percent while at the same time raising their mandatory fees.

“I realize how bad we need the money,” DeConcini said. “It just troubles me that this is the way we are nicking the students.”

Crow said some specialized programs at ASU require the University to pass on the cost to students, adding that only a few courses at ASU have associated course fees.

The regents stressed during their discussion how economically efficient the Arizona state university system is in comparison to its competitors.

Regardless, Regent Mark Killian said ABOR should still do all it can to keep tuition affordable.

“We’ve got to find a long-term solution that drives down the cost of tuition in Arizona,” he said.

 

Reach the reporter at ammedeir@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @amy_medeiros.