The presidents of the three state universities are requesting unprecedented “economic recovery surcharges” as a way to make up for a 20 percent cut in their state funding.
Arizona State University late Wednesday cut its request in half and is now asking for $600 a year for in-state students and $800 a year for out-of-state students.
University of Arizona wants $1,100 a year for all students. Northern Arizona University is requesting a $350-per-year surcharge, although current students enrolled in a guaranteed tuition program are exempt.
Is there another grand conspiracy involved in this move? Earlier this month, K-12 school districts across the state unnecessarily issued over 5,000 pink slips to teachers as a political move to create unrest and panic among the education community and ultimately direct that anger toward the legislature which was trying to balance the budget. Because the legislature was still deliberating budget adjustments, it was unable to say for certain what districts could expect. The legislature even attempted to push back the notification deadline back for breathing room but the Arizona Education Association fought the deadline extension in order to speed up the panic.
Could the Board of Regents be trying to achieve the same political results by causing a student revolt directed at the legislature? The Republic continues:
The universities already have cut back on faculty positions, made employees take furloughs and consolidated departments to try to close a $190 million cut in state funding this year.
Without additional revenue, “We do not believe we can run the university on a quality basis into this next academic year,” NAU President John Haeger said.
The proposed surcharges are unpopular with many students, largely because they come on top of already-approved tuition increases for fall that range from 3 to 14 percent, depending on the university.
The surcharges and tuition increases would result in total increases of up to 22 percent at ASU, 30 percent at the UA and 21 percent at NAU.
This is not the time to create new fees or increase tuition, unless of course the Board of Regents believes that the number of college grads is overinflated and a tuition hike will correct the bubble of individuals seeking white collar jobs. Remember, if the government wants less of something, it increases the cost of doing that something by taxing or assessing fees on it.
Governor Brewer is also expected to attend the meeting. Her office issued a press release yesterday that only stated that she plans on “highlighting her 5-point plan for Building a Better Arizona and discussing higher education funding in the State of Arizona.”
On what may be a related note, we see that, “ASU announces football game-day upgrades.” We sure hope that these enhancements were paid for out of private dollars!