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Gov. Ducey tells Regents he's committed to higher education

Gov. Doug Ducey told the Arizona Board of Regents he's prepared to work with them on Arizona's higher education system.

Doug Ducey's inauguration

Gov. Doug Ducey walks on stage to take his oath of office at the state Capitol courtyard on Jan. 5, 2015.

Gov. Doug Ducey told the Arizona Board of Regents he is invested in Arizona’s higher education system at their meeting Thursday.

In March, Ducey and the state Legislature cut the budget to public universities by $99 million. Despite this, he cautioned the Regents to be wary of increasing tuition to avoid making higher education inaccessible to students.

“Price and quality matter,” he said. “In a business, making a quality product fewer can afford often doesn’t make sense.”

Ducey said he wants to ensure all groups have access to higher education.

“I have a concern about access,” he said. “My concern is 'Are the degrees happening?' and 'Are they happening with an acceptable amount of debt?'”

He praised the regents for the work they have been doing to make the a better place for residents. 

“These are some of the finest universities in the world,” he said.

ASU President Michael Crow said he is interested in working with Ducey to create a better system.

“I’m looking forward to figuring out a way that helps us do that (opportunity for all) at the most effective way,” Crow said.

Regent Ron Shoopman said he hopes to be able to work closely with Ducey and his office to create a better higher education system for Arizona.

“It isn’t all about the money,” Shoopman said. “It’s also about the reform and some opportunities to work with you and the Legislature to give us the ability to optimize how we use those resources.”

The Board of Regents offered to send Ducey memos with updates on important things the universities will be doing and encouraged him to use their pools of resources in his years in office.

Ducey said despite the cuts he made to the higher education budget, he is committed to working with the Board of Regents.

“My goal is to leave the state better than I found it,” he said.

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