University planning for less state money in future

In a move to reduce ASU’s dependence on state funding, President Michael Crow plans to gain more revenue through out-of-state tuition and expanded online services in the future.

The overall plan, which Crow presented to the Arizona Board of Regents last Thursday, calls for reducing state funding to just 11 percent of ASU’s revenue by 2020, down from the current 23 percent.

In that time, revenue from out-of-state tuition would increase to 18 percent, up from 13 percent. ASU Online would jump to 7 percent of total revenue, up from less than 1 percent.

Crow said his main goal is to stop relying on the state for funding.

“The main thing is to be less dependent on state appropriations,” he said. “For five fiscal years, we’re including no additional state appropriations above what we’re getting now.”

The constant decrease in state appropriations since 2008 has led to planning difficulties, Crow said.

“Our financial instability is driven by the state, and multi-year planning is difficult,” Crow said. “But state funding is a major issue that’s gone after this year. Even if the state offers us more money, we don’t want it.”

This instability has led to too much reliance on in-state tuition and tuition increases, Crow said.

In addition to reducing dependence on state funding, Crow wants to boost out-of-state enrollment and increase out-of-state tuition as much as the market will allow, according to the University’s Strategic Plan for 2020.

Chicago native Kathryn Crown, a marketing junior, said she doesn’t think it’s fair to place the burden of state cuts on out-of-state students.

“In-state students are paying less for the same education we’re trying to get as out-of-state students,” she said. “That sucks for people who are trying to go to Arizona State from out-of-state. It’s going to stop people from going here.”

Crown said the main problem is the unpredictable increases in tuition.

“It’s not even the tuition that it’s currently set at, it’s the increase that’s making people freak out,” she said. “When you compare us [to peer universities], you have to compare the spike in cost, not just the current price. I know people who have had to leave ASU because of the jump.”

The reduced dependence on the state would help limit tuition spikes and create a sustainable, predictable tuition model for both in-state and out-of-state students, according to the Strategic Plan.

A second key point in the Strategic Plan is to increase ASU Online revenue from $6.2 million in 2011 to $200 million per year by 2020.

ASU Online spokesman Russ Knocke said increased enrollment, new programs and forming key partnerships will all be involved in the exponential revenue growth.

“One of the huge benefits of online is scale,” he said. “You can grow tremendously fast in the online space.”

The Board of Regents wants ASU Online to have 30,000 students by 2020, and Knocke said the University is on track to meet that goal.

Recent partnerships with businesses will help boost online retention rates and create support services, Knocke said.

The main obstacle to growth is the time required to convert degree programs to a fully online curriculum, he said.

“It will take us a little time to get there,” Knocke said. “But we expect to be growing in large numbers in terms of quality and quantity.”

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