ASU proposes tuition increase, $1,025 surcharge

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The University released a proposal Friday that calls for an increase in tuition over the next two years, as well as doubling the economic recovery surcharge implemented last fall from $510 per year for in-state students to $1,025.

The proposal, which was posted to the ASU Web site, is intended to fill the gap left when temporary federal stimulus funding runs out.

Under the plan, current in-state student tuition would increase by 5 percent, while out-of-state tuition would go up by 3.5 percent. The 2010-11 economic surcharge was originally set to be $750, but the amount changed after it was learned that stimulus funds available to the three universities would be $30 million less than originally believed, according to the proposal.

Arizona Board of Regents spokeswoman Katie Paquet said there’s no doubt the increases proposed are significant.

“I don’t really see a way around it,” Paquet said.

For next year’s in-state freshmen, tuition will increase by 13 percent compared to last year’s level, to $6,768, not including the surcharge.

Tuition will be $6,307 for sophomores, and $5,963 for juniors.

Senior tuition will differ depending on which campus the student attends. Seniors at the Tempe and Downtown campuses will pay $5,582, and those at Polytechnic and West will pay $5,348.

Out-of-state undergraduates will pay $19,232, and including the surcharge, will pay more than $20,000 yearly.

In-state graduate students will see an 11.4 percent jump in tuition and surcharges, from $7,638 to $8,509. Non-resident graduate students will pay $22,058 with the surcharge.

Regent Dennis DeConcini said President Michael Crow might want American University vision for at least a year and consider a way to lower the financial burden on students.

“I understand the president’s position … but it is such a difficult time to ask parents and student to pay the bill,” he said.

DeConcini said he is looking at two alternative options.

“I’m considering a possible [tuition] freeze for one year,” he said, but did not guarantee that such a proposal would generate support.

Last year, DeConcini proposed a 3.7 percent tuition increase for all three universities, which he said was more consistent with the rise in Arizona’s cost of living, and fell below ASU’s 5 percent increase proposal.

The regents rejected DeConcini’s proposal in a 5-4 vote.

The other option is a tuition grant, DeConcini said. If funds given by the state to the universities are above last year’s amount, then the increase in funds should be used to reduce tuition, he said.

But DeConcini was unsure if regents and the universities can legally or procedurally make such a move.

Also in the proposal is the $75-per-semester facilities fee, which was recently approved by four of ASU’s five student governments. The Downtown campus’ student government was the only one to vote against the fee.

The driving factor behind the fee’s implementation was to have students gain control of where fee money is spent.

“I think that’s a wise political move on [the students’] part,” DeConcini said.

Undergraduate Student Government President Brendan O’Kelly said he wants students to send a message to the state Legislature.

The University differentiates between tuition costs and the economic surcharge, letting students know what money is going toward improving the University and what money is simply allowing the University to keep its doors open, O’Kelly said.

“We have all suffered — students, faculty and staff — and it’s the state’s turn,” he said.

Students will be able to send a strong message in November, O’Kelly said.

“That’s what scares the Legislature more than anything; it’s an election,” he said.

The proposal will be considered at the ABOR meeting on March 11. ABOR will also hold tuition-setting hearings on March 1 on all four ASU campuses.

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