Arizona lawmakers have proposed a bill that would require some in-state students at ASU, NAU and UA to pay a portion of their tuition without the assistance of scholarships or grants.
House Bill 2675, proposed by Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, would require all public Arizona university full-time students to contribute at least $2,000 of their annual tuition, without the assistance of money funded by a university or university affiliate.
The bill has not yet been assigned to a committee, where lawmakers would debate the bill and decide whether to approve it for full floor discussion.
Part-time, in-state students would pay an amount proportional to their credit hours.
Students who are registered for at least 12 credit hours during a semester are considered full time, with students carrying less than that considered part time.
According to HB 2675, a student may not use any “source of public or private funding, including grants, gifts, scholarships or tuition benefits, or other types of funding administered by or through a university or an affiliate of a university.”
Up to 5 percent of first-time undergraduates who pay for school using a competitive, national merit-based or athletic scholarship wouldn’t have to pay the $2,000. The bill exempts scholarships based “solely on academic merit or solely on a special aptitude, talent or ability from a competitive national program.”
Rep. Nancy McLain, R-Bullhead City, co-sponsored HB 2675 and said she chose to support the bill because a large number of students don’t pay for tuition.
“A student should have (an) investment in their own education,” she said. “If you have an interest then maybe you wouldn’t drop out or take frivolous classes.”
Although McLain said she would support the bill if it made its way to a vote, she questioned the exceptions for students on athletic and national merit-based scholarships.
“That doesn’t seem right to me,” McClain said noting that this section of the bill may be reworked.
Arizona Board of Regents spokeswoman Katie Paquet said while the Board is still reviewing the full impact of the bill, they have voted to oppose it.
“Our initial response is that it would have a negative impact on students’ educations,” Paquet said.
Rep. Bob Robson, R-Chandler, another co-sponsor of the bill, said he believes the $2,000 tuition contribution to be a little excessive, but is still a firm supporter.
“There (are) a whole host of ways to pay for education,” he said. “There are ways to work out paying for tuition.”
Aeronautical engineering junior Victor Dominguez said he receives a need-based scholarship available to engineering transfer students from community colleges. This scholarship pays for his entire tuition.
He said having to raise the required annual $2,000 contribution could be a problem for him.
“If I couldn’t afford it, I probably wouldn’t be able to go to school,” Dominguez said. “That’s $2,000 I might not have.”
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