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Regents compromise with 5 percent tuition increase

Nonresident goes up by 7 percent

 by James Kindle
 published on Friday, December 1, 2006

ASU President Michael Crow speaks at the ABOR meeting in Tucson Thursday./issues/news/699120
ASU President Michael Crow speaks at the ABOR meeting in Tucson Thursday.


The Arizona Board of Regents voted 7-3 to approve a statewide 5 percent increase for 2007-08 resident tuition Thursday, following a forceful appeal by some regents for a lower number.

Resident undergraduate tuition at ASU's Tempe and Downtown Phoenix campuses will jump $230 to $4,821 next year. Polytechnic and West campus tuitions will increase by $220 to $4,620. For resident graduate students at all campuses, tuition will swell to $6,227, an increase of $297.

Nonresident undergraduate tuitions will increase by $1,103 - 7 percent over last year - at all campuses to $16,853. For nonresident graduates, tuition will rise $1,404 to $17,920, an 8.5 percent increase.

The 5 percent increase for resident students matches the Higher Education Price Index, which measures the average inflation of goods and services purchased by American universities.

The approved percentage, proposed by Regent Fred Boice, was higher than a 2.3 percent conditional increase proposed by the Arizona Students' Association, a statewide student advocacy group.

But the increases were lower than what ASU President Michael Crow proposed. He recommended a 7 percent increase for undergraduates, both residents and nonresidents, and an 8.5 percent increase for graduates.

Crow called the 5 percent level "a fair compromise," but said it will mean the University has to push the Legislature harder for support.

The Arizona Students' Association's 2.3 percent increase was voted on first during the meeting, which was held at UA.

ASA's plan required the Arizona Legislature to provide $115.7 million in additional funding for state universities. If the Legislature did not approve the amount, the presidents' proposals would have been instituted.

Some regents criticized the proposal, which failed 4-6, as threatening University finances, appearing like a threat to the Legislature and taking away ABOR's responsibility to set tuition.

Regent Ed Hermes, a student at ASU, said he was disappointed ASA's 2.3 percent measure didn't pass.

"We also have responsibility to the institutions [and] to give it to someone else is troublesome," said ABOR President Robert Bulla, who also voted against the proposal.

But Regent Dennis DeConcini, who sponsored the proposal, told the regents it could encourage students, who are taking a risk, to lobby the Legislature for more state funding.

"We have a chance to change things here instead of doing it like we've done it for years and years, and we have a chance to really motivate thousands of parents ... and students," he said.

DeConcini and Regents Ernest Calderon and Tom Horne voted against the 5 percent increase.

ASA chairman Devin Mauney said the failed measure wouldn't change how the group campaigns to get more state funding.

"We're still going to go down [to the Legislature] with the same vigor," he said.

Also approved were a fee increase for new students to the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, boosting the current fee by $1,000 to $8,250, and increases in several other specific program fees.

Fifteen art and nursing class fees will also jump $8-$51.

Regents delayed voting on University-wide propositions, including a $100 computer technology fee, as well as a grandfathered $500 Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication fee, citing the need for more communication with students.

Residents of the Daley Park neighborhood south of campus also addressed the board. The five residents in attendance said they had traffic and safety concerns over the proposed construction projects south of ASU.

Regents are scheduled to vote today on whether to approve the project.

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