Rep. Becky Nutt’s (R-Clifton) House Bill 2523 would authorize Arizona’s community colleges to offer four-year degrees to their students. The bill passed out of the Arizona House of Representatives with only three representatives voting no: Rep. Charlene Fernandez (D-Yuma), Rep. César Chávez (D-Phoenix), and Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley (D-Tucson).
The bill is headed to the senate, and ASU students should rally behind this bill in support not only because it allows for better access to affordable higher education opportunities, but it also could make tuition more competitive at state universities.
Universities have become so overpriced that this bill would give people access to much needed alternatives to the three state universities: ASU, UA and NAU. Community colleges are currently at a disadvantage because they are legally barred from offering four-year degrees, but HB 2523 would change that.
ASU’s in-state tuition for first-year students starts at $10,822. UA’s is around $12,600. NAU’s is $11,896.
Pima Community College charges a base rate $1,305 for 15 credit hours, which means tuition for a full year would be just over $2,500.
Maricopa Community Colleges charges a flat rate of $1,020 per semester, making tuition just over $2,000 annually.
Less than $1,500 for a semester of college is much more affordable for those who are working while they are getting their education. Expansion into four-year degrees would create an explosion of education opportunities.
Alternatively for those who are already enrolled in an Arizona university, this would hopefully create competition between state universities and community colleges. HB 2523 would put community colleges at equal footing with its larger competitors when it comes to students choosing what university they want to enroll at.
Since community colleges would hold the advantage in terms of affordability, we can hope that state universities would decrease their tuition to ensure they are not missing out on prospective students to more affordable options of higher education.
With only three dissenting votes, the Arizona state House voted to empower community colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees. The bill now goes to the Senate. HB 2523 is a phenomenal bill that every student should support, because it expands opportunities for college students and could make tuition more competitive and affordable.
Editor’s Note: The opinions presented in this letter to the editor are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors. This letter to the editor was submitted by Ryne Bolick a freshman studying mechanical engineering and the president of Young Americans for Liberty at ASU.
Reach the author at email@example.com or follow @rynebolick on Twitter.
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