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Executive Budget proposes $30.3 million in university funding

Gov. Jan Brewer released the proposed 2013 fiscal budget on Jan. 13, which will allocate $30.3 million in funding to state universities. (Photo by Beth Easterbrook)
Gov. Jan Brewer released the proposed 2013 fiscal budget on Jan. 13, which will allocate $30.3 million in funding to state universities. (Photo by Beth Easterbrook)

Gov. Jan Brewer proposed to set aside $30.3 million in her 2013 fiscal budget for all Arizona universities, emphasizing increased accountability and effectiveness in higher education.

Brewer’s fiscal year 2013 budget recommendations, released Jan. 13, highlighted her ideas for improving higher education.

In the 2012 fiscal budget signed on April 7, 2011, $207 million was cut from the university system, said Sarah Harper, Arizona Board of Regents spokeswoman.

ABOR President Tom Anderes said in a Jan. 13 statement that ABOR is “appreciative” of Brewer’s reinvestment in higher education.

“We look forward to working with both Governor Brewer and the Arizona State Legislature on finalizing the fiscal year 2013 budget over the next several months,” Anderes said in the statement.

ABOR plans to work closely with Brewer to implement a stronger higher education system.

The budget calls for $15 million to be directed toward performance funding for the universities. Performance funding is predicted to drive changes that will move Arizona closer to a more educated workforce, according to the Executive Budget Summary.

ABOR is required to recommend performance and outcome based funding structures to Brewer and the State Legislature. The universities calculate their performance by using a formula that includes increases in degrees, credit hours, outside research and public service funding. The State is placing emphasis on performance funding to ensure that efforts will progress.

Only 26 percent of Arizona adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the Executive Budget Summary.

It is a priority to increase the education level so Arizona can remain competitive globally and nationally, according to the Executive Budget. It is the Executive’s goal to lower the cost of a college education and to double the number of students receiving degrees by 2020.

ASU President Michael Crow told The State Press editorial board in October that he anticipated no additional cuts to university funding because of the positive gains in state revenue.

The State has projected an ending balance for the 2012 fiscal year of $392 million, and an ending balance for the 2013 fiscal year of $588 million.

The Executive recommends allocating $15.3 million to ASU and NAU to keep up with increasing student growth and maintaining degree and education quality. ASU would receive $12 million of the $15.3 million. The Executive Budget states that funding will be used to improve technology and decrease per-student costs.

Arizona universities have experienced different levels of growth in the past decade.

ASU’s enrollment has grown by 56 percent, while UA increased by 21 percent and NAU by 33 percent, according to the Executive Budget.

Mechanical engineering sophomore Daniel Wilson said he is pleased to have his hard work rewarded with more funds for universities.

“I’m happy to finally see the government recognizing the importance of investing in the future through higher education,” Wilson said.

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