Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Universities asked to consider cuts before tuition increases

REGENTS ON CAMPUS: ASU President Michael Crow speaks at the Arizona Board of Regents meeting that took place at the Memorial Union on Thursday and Friday. The meeting covered a wide range of issues, from concealed weapons on campus to changes in tuition.  (Photo by Sierra Smith)
REGENTS ON CAMPUS: ASU President Michael Crow speaks at the Arizona Board of Regents meeting that took place at the Memorial Union on Thursday and Friday. The meeting covered a wide range of issues, from concealed weapons on campus to changes in tuition. (Photo by Sierra Smith)

At the conclusion of the Arizona Board of Regents meeting on Friday, the Board requested that administrators of three state universities seriously consider their strategies for dealing with the upcoming budget cuts.

Regents asked the university presidents to consider cutting programs, differentiating missions and making changes to financial aid distribution, among other proposals.

The Board will hold a special work session on March 8 to discuss budget and tuition issues in order to prepare for April’s meeting, where tuition will be set for the next academic year.

Regent Fred DuVal stressed the importance of the discussions that will occur at the work session next month.

“The quality of our work on March 8 really depends on the quality of the preparation,” he told the university presidents. “I encourage you to take unusual care in preparing.”

DuVal also asked administrators to consider how their plans will affect the long-term plans of their institutions and the university system as a whole.

Standard cost-cutting measures like program cuts and suspension on construction were proposed, along with some more extreme ideas.

“Sometimes, because of our duties, we have to ask questions that we don’t like to ask,” Regent Ernest Calderón said. “If we’re going to be involved in raising tuition, I need to know from each of the presidents if there is something we can cut in programs … We’ve gone to the students time and time again to raise tuition, and I think if we don’t ask that question first, we are doing them a disservice.”

Regent Anne Mariucci, chairwoman of the board, said her support for tuition increases rests on the universities proving they are operating at their maximum efficiency.

Regent Mark Killian asked presidents to consider new ideas like an enrollment cap in order to allow universities to serve existing students without the additional stress of expansion.

DuVal suggested a funding model based on performance and eliminating full-ride scholarships.

“Some of these ideas may be highly explosive, but we need to put them on the table,” he said.

Regents said they also want to know how financial aid as a whole will be affected by each university’s plans. They requested a rough estimate of the tuition and fee increases each institution plans to request in April.

The Board also asked the university presidents to communicate among themselves to ensure they are “comparing apples to apples” and presenting their data in similar terms.

ASU President Michael Crow expressed his concern with ABOR approaching each university in the same manner.

“The institutions are not apples to apples,” he said. “They’re all fruits, but they are not all apples, and the inability of the Board to have a variety of approaches for all the different apples in the bowl has led to many disadvantages in the past.”

Mariucci assured Crow and other administrators that the Board will consider the differences among the universities when making future decisions.

Mariucci even encouraged the presidents to consider differentiating missions in order to reduce duplications among the universities as a way to potentially reduce costs.

“I invite each of the presidents to compile one page of bullet points … of commentary you would really like us as Regents to understand about how and why are you different on issues that relate to critical policy and pricing decisions we’re going to have to make,” she said.

The Board also unanimously voted to extend an override that would allow the universities to continue enrolling up to 40 percent of its students from out of state.

ABOR protocol currently places the maximum out-of-state enrollment at 30 percent of a university’s total student body, but an override was approved two years ago, increasing this to 40 percent in order to boost income.

The override expired, but the vote will extend it for an additional two years.

On Thursday, as part of ASU’s strategic business plan, Crow said out-of-state tuition will be key to the University’s funding in the coming years.

Crow also said Friday that out-of-state students help the University diversify and create quality products, ideas and employees.

“We would like to have students from every country. We would like to have students from every state,” he said. “We would like to be seen as a national university for the state. How can we do that with a cap [on out-of-state enrollment?]”

However, Crow emphasized that ASU will serve Arizona students first and will not admit out-of-state students at the expense of excluding qualified Arizona students.

The Board requested the university presidents consider how the override extension will affect revenue for the next two years and beyond before the March work session.

Each regent expressed their individual concerns regarding the budget and the coming work session and told the presidents what they were most interested in knowing prior to making tuition-related decisions.

“We’re at the cliff,” DuVal told the presidents and fellow regents. “This March meeting is going to determine if we’re Evel Knievel and clear it, or if we’re Thelma and Louise and fall of the edge.”

Reach the report at

Continue supporting student journalism and donate to The State Press today.

Subscribe to Pressing Matters



This website uses cookies to make your experience better and easier. By using this website you consent to our use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie Policy.