ASU students could see one of the highest tuition increases since the beginning of the pandemic for the next academic year if the Arizona Board of Regents, the state's governing board for public universities, approves University President Michael Crow's tuition and fee proposal submitted Friday.
Crow proposed a 3% increase for in-state residents attending any of ASU's campus immersion programs. For out-of-state and international undergraduate and graduate students, tuition may increase 5%, according to the proposal. As online enrollment continues to increase, the University is proposing a 2% increase in tuition and a 2% increase in fees.
The increases are some of the highest University leadership has proposed in recent years, but maintain the University's commitment since 2013 to keep increases below 3% for Arizona undergraduate and graduate resident students who are enrolled in campus immersion programs.
The undergraduate college fees are proposed to be $0 to $30 for resident students, the same as last year, and $0 to $60 for non-resident students, an increase of $10 from last year. Those fees take into consideration that "to expand impact, additional investments have to be made to meet the increased demand," according to the proposal.
Aligning with existing ABOR policies about student fees, the health and wellness fee supporting the operation of ASU Health and Counseling Services would increase by $25 a semester to a total of $80 per student per semester. The student services facility fee would increase by $25 a semester to a total of $100 per student per semester. Usage of that fee will be overseen by student government, the Associated Students of ASU.
Other new fees are being proposed for transfer student enrollment services and graduate enrollment services.
The proposal also outlines new program fees for graduate students in the College of Health Solutions and the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences as well as per-credit and program fee increases for graduate programs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and W. P. Carey School of Business.
Last year, ABOR approved Crow's proposed 2.5% tuition increase for on-campus resident students, a 4% tuition increase for non-resident students and a 5% tuition increase for international students.
For the 2022-23 academic year, base tuition amounts for in-state undergraduate students and in-state graduate students were $10,978 and $12,014, respectively. Base tuition was $29,952 for out-of-state undergraduate students. Out-of-state graduate student base tuition was $32,656. International undergraduate student tuition was $32,760, and international graduate student tuition was $35,280. Online students paid per each credit hour at $552 for undergraduate students and $554 per graduate credit hour.
While the increase is large for the University, it is small compared to some other schools around the country that are adjusting for costs and changes after the start of the pandemic and for inflation.
"This year, unlike every year for the last 13 years, is a significant and unmanageable level of inflationary increase," said ASU President Michael Crow in a meeting with The State Press Tuesday. "The inflation numbers came out again today at 6% inflation, steady and moving forward. So our costs have now accelerated dramatically so much so that we would have to reduce services to manage the gap between the tuition rate and the cost rate."
Tuition and fees for in-state students at the University of Virginia are up by 6%, and at Howard University, a private HBCU, tuition and fees are up by 7%. At Purdue University, in-state tuition and fees have been frozen at a base of about $10,000 for years.
According to the College Board, average tuition and fees increased 1.2% in 2020 for public universities and went up again 1.6% in 2021. In the 10 years before the pandemic, data show a typical annual increase of 3%, with an outlier in 2011 when public universities saw an average increase of 8.5%.
During academic years ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, Crow proposed no increases in tuition, the proposal saying at the time the University would put financial aid and "overall student support" at the forefront.
"As ASU continues to develop as a pioneer in American higher education, it remains focused on providing students with an ever-evolving, world-class education while maintaining its unwavering commitment to affordability, efficiency and fiscal predictability," Crow said in a written statement Friday. "Giving students and their families the ability to anticipate, prepare and work with us to achieve a degree is important to us and we are here to keep learners moving forward."
In February, ABOR enacted a plan to estimate and limit tuition increases, voting 8-1 on the policy that will lock in a growth rate in tuition and fees for six years starting in the 2024-25 academic year.
That proposal was "intended to create clear predictability for students and their families regarding the tuition that they will pay over the course of their college journeys," said ABOR Executive Director John Arnold at the Feb. 9 meeting.
The growth rate cap is a concept the University has already agreed to and has been practicing for a decade.
ASU's cap, which has been at 3% since 2013, does not mean every proposal would set an increase of that much each year, just that it cannot be higher than 3%. The goal is to keep increases as close to zero as possible.
The proposal will be examined March 23 during ABOR's Capital, Finance and Resources Committee meeting. On March 28, the board will host a virtual public hearing, allowing for student and constituent comment. The board is then anticipated to vote on approving tuition and fees for the 2023-24 academic year on April 20.
Editor's note: This story was updated on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, at 5:30 p.m. to include a quote about inflation from Crow.
Edited by Greta Forslund.
Piper Hansen is the digital editor-in-chief at The State Press, overseeing all digital content. Joining SP in Spring 2020, she has covered student government, housing and COVID-19. She has previously written about state politics for The Arizona Republic and the Arizona Capitol Times and covers social justice for Cronkite News.