Students respond to the idea of education being 'as nearly free as possible'

ASU students react to the promise of affordable education in response to ABOR lawsuit

ASU students have mixed feelings about the current in-state tuition prices in light of the Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filing a suit against the Arizona Board of Regents that alleges the board has raised tuition to unconstitutional levels.

The Arizona constitution states that higher education “shall be as nearly free as possible,” for its in-state students, and the Attorney General argues that it is not. 

Read more: ASU president responds to AG lawsuit, defends tuition model

Matt McVeety, a junior double majoring in Criminology and Criminal Justice and Public Service and Public Policy, said that if you take advantage of the free programs ASU offers, tuition prices are fair. 

“What ASU does is offer a lot of free services, like tutoring and other support services for free," he said. "If you're someone who's really taking advantage of all of those and using them, then yes, I think they are doing a pretty good job.”

McVeety said that if students do not take advantage of those free services, they are paying a lot of money for things they don’t use. 

McVeety also said that he's never felt that ASU had too large of a price tag. 

"I've never felt like ASU was unduly expensive," he said. "I feel like they could make it a little bit cheaper, but it's never been outrageous."

Rebecca Pineau, a freshman majoring in public policy with a concentration in sustainability, said that as an out-of-state student, she finds her tuition reasonable, but could see how others find it too high.

“What I pay (with a scholarship), I consider reasonable, but I thought the starting price was high,” she said. “I assumed that even for an out-of-state student, the starting price would be lower. I thought it would be about what I pay now.”

With few schools that have sustainability programs, Pineau said she had few alternatives, but ASU was still her most affordable option.

President Michael Crow said in a meeting with The State Press that out-of-state and international tuition is "at the proven market value of an ASU undergraduate degree," which means thousands of people are willing and able to pay those prices for an ASU education. 

Molly Luther, a freshman studying computer science, said she picked ASU partially because of the reasonable tuition prices, but she still believes they should be lower. 

She also said the price is "feasible," but she wishes she could get more out of the University.

“I pay extra merely to be an honors student, so that factor is kind of frustrating and limits my opportunity to do things I really want, like studying abroad, because I am setting aside money for that (tuition)," she said.

As for the notion of “as nearly free as possible,” Luther said if that were true, she would not feel the financial burden she currently has. 

"I would say the figure that I am paying is a significant life investment ... the number I'm paying is definitely enough that warrants sacrifice on my part and my family's part,” she said. “And if it was as close to free as possible, I wouldn't feel as much of a burden in higher education.” 

All three students said there is a need for affordable higher education.

"We live in a country where you are supposed have control over your own life, and without an education, you don't have control, and your options are limited," Pineau said. 

Reach the reporter at and follow @andrew_howard4 on Twitter.

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