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Arizona Board of Regents hold public hearing for proposed 2016-17 tuition increases

ABOR Tuition Hearing
ASU’s Undergraduate Student Government Downtown President Corina Tapscott speaks at the Arizona Board of Regents tuition hearing, on Tuesday, March 29, 2016, in Phoenix, AZ.

Student and administrative leaders across ASU’s four campuses participated in a public hearing with the Arizona Board of Regents Tuesday to discuss proposed tuition increases for the 2016-17 school year.

ASU’s new tuition proposal, which ASU President Michael Crow said is relatively minimal, includes a slight tuition increase for resident students as well as a larger increase for nonresident students.

“We are working very hard to constrain the in-state tuition increases in particular as well as out-of-state and international,” Crow said. “(Our proposal is) reflective of trying to keep those costs as low as possible, and it’s reflective of our commitment to accessibility.”

With ABOR’s approval, the University’s tuition will increase by $1,000 for international and non-resident undergraduate students, $1,100 for international and out-of-state graduate students and $200 for in-state students. 

However, a proposed $50 decrease in a previously enacted surcharge, which had levied $320 on resident students during the 2015-16 school year, would adjust the in-state tuition increase to a net $150.

Tempe Undergraduate Student Government President Isaac Miller, who spoke from the University’s Tempe campus, said he and his fellow student government members support the University’s proposal.

“We support this tuition proposal insofar as it continues to minimize costs while increasing the value of the degrees of every ASU student, and while it continues to enhance the academic experience of every ASU student,” he said.

Miller said Tempe USG recognizes the increases were necessary in order to combat cuts in state funding for higher education.

“We understand that the last few years, we’ve seen no more than … modest increases on the student body, and I think the administration has been pretty dedicated to minimizing costs for the students of the University,” he said.

In 2015, the state of Arizona cut public university funding by nearly $100 million.

Graduate and Professional Student Association President Pauline Venieris, who also attended the hearing in Tempe, said she was disappointed in the state’s cutting of higher education funds. 

“I wish that I lived in a state that really valued the long and difficult journey that many of my fellow graduate and professional students embark upon for the benefit of their collective communities,” she said. 

Venieris said Arizona needs to work harder to fund higher education.

“When the state recognizes the value of higher education, student tuitions will reflect that value,” she said.

USG Downtown President Corina Tapscott, who spoke from ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus, said she and her fellow members of USGD share the same concerns as students across the University.

“We understand why increase in cost is necessary, but we want to ensure that we do not lose any of the exemplary students that make our University a world-renowned university,” she said.

ABOR Regent Jay Heiler, who moderated the hearing, said he and his fellow regents would do their best to make higher education as accessible as possible for Arizona students.

“We will move up from here,” Regent Heiler said. “We are confident of that.”

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