ASU President Crow talks student debt, sustainability at open forum

ASU President Michael Crow discussed sustainability and student debt among other topics during an hour-long forum with student governments from each campus.

Answering questions on a myriad of topics including sustainability, student debt, athletic fee and the fee for printing on campus, Crow gained valuable insight to better the student experience while also giving important answers to student concerns.

Student Debt
Crow said the state of student debt is an issue that he takes very seriously.

Half of our undergraduates graduate with no debt and those that do graduate with debt graduate with debt well below the national average,” he said. “What we have tried to do for in-state students is provide a healthy need-based and merit-based financial aid program, and for out-of-state students, it is largely merit based.”

ASU ranks in the 50th percentile for out-of-state tuition, Crow said.

“We are right in the middle for out-of-state tuition,” he said. “The in-state average tuition, after grants, is just under $4,000.”

The University is constantly looking for ways to keep costs contained and affordable, Crow said.

Athletic Fee
The proposed athletic fee bill was mentioned during the forum and Crow said he has listened to the priorities set by USG and thinks the fee will benefit the student body at large.

“We listen very carefully to priorities set by student leaders, and many of the things we are talking about, there is a desire to enhance graduate student salaries, and we’re looking at academic services as well as advising,” he said. “There may be some things that look like they are for a particular group like the LSAT or MCAT, but overall what student leadership has argued for with that fee will benefit students at large.”

Sustainability
During the hour-long forum, Crow discussed the issue of sustainability and said ASU is one of the leaders in the country, if not the leader, in sustainability.

There is a plan to create more solar shade towers on campuses other than Tempe and continue to raise the amount of power generated by these towers, Crow said.

“By the end of this semester, we will have about 25 megawatts of solar power generating our daytime electricity, which is about half of the university’s entire consumption during the day on the West … and Polytechnic campuses,” he said. “We are trying to create 50 megawatts, which is the total consumption and continue to reduce our carbon footprint, so we can talk the talk and walk the walk when it comes to sustainability.”

Printing
ASU entered into a contract with Canon last year and since then, there has been a $12 minimum fee for printing from campus locations. Crow said he was not familiar with this minimum fee and is going to look for ways to remedy the situation.

“I’m going to ask the University Technology officer Gordon Wishon to see if there is a reason there is a fee and how we can deal with someone who just wants to print five pages and that’s all they want to do,” he said. “We’ll look at that and see what we can do about that.”

USG Tempe president Jordan Davis said the meeting was successful as many questions were answered to inform the USG members as they prepare for the coming semester,

“It’s great to have students be able to voice their opinions and ask him any questions they may have because he is the one who will have all the answers,” he said. “It was interesting to find out about some of the structures with athletics expansion and the new law school downtown.”

Director of communication Denise Quiroz said Crow has been having these student meetings for the past six years and is a good way for him to find out what is going on around campus from the student perspective.

“These forums are really nice, because they are face-to-face, and I think students feel comfortable coming in with different questions,” she said.

The questions Crow has received over the years have changed drastically, Quiroz said.

“When we first started, it was generally tuition and parking questions and now there is a range of issues that people want his perspective on,” she said.

Next semester, Crow’s office is looking to have these student forums on other campuses in order to meet everyone face to face, Quiroz said.

“It’s nice to sit down with the students and find out what is on their mind,” she said.

Reach the reporter at jshanco2@asu.edu or on Twitter @Joey_Hancock