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ASU officials ask for 5 percent tuition increase

ABOR will vote on proposal next month

 by Daniel O'Connor
 published on Friday, November 9, 2007


ASU officials proposed a 5 percent increase in tuition for next fall Thursday, a rate that would be fixed for an indefinite period of time.

The proposal outlines an increase that would effectively raise the annual cost of tuition for resident students from $4,821 to $5,063 and non-residents from $16,854 to $17,679 for the 2008-09 year and continue to increase at the same rate annually.

New resident undergraduates for the 2008-2009 school year will face a one time market tuition increase to $5,409 for their first year at ASU.

The proposal will be presented next month to the Arizona Board of Regents the governing body for Arizona's three universities.

Over the past six years, the regents have passed tuition proposals that have almost doubled the cost of attending ASU for resident students, according to statistics from ABOR.

But ASU still remains in the lower third in tuition costs of rivaling senior research universities in the country, said University Provost Elizabeth Capaldi.

"In Arizona and in the (state) constitution, tuition should be as close to free as possible," Capaldi said. "So the goal is to keep it as low as possible, while producing the quality the students need."

ASU was in a financial crisis five years ago that caused faculty to leave without being replaced while classes became too large and resources were nominal, Capaldi said.

But since the 92 percent increase in tuition costs for residents over the past six years, ASU has been able to recover and become better equipped to deal with student needs, she said.

Students and their parents can now benefit from the predictability that an annual fixed-rate provides, she added.

"One of the worst things that can happen to families and students is an unexpected increase that they are not prepared for," Capaldi said. "They can now plan for this in a predictable way."

The Undergraduate Student Government, along with the Arizona Students' Association presented a similar proposal to the regents Monday that introduced a similar 5 percent annual increase, but asked for a freeze in tuition costs for the next academic year.

Capaldi said the regents maintain a respected relationship with USG, but think the freeze would not have been reasonable.

"It's just unrealistic to try to freeze tuition because the costs don't freeze," she said. "I wish my utilities bill would freeze, but it just doesn't. The costs will always be there."

It's hard for students to understand the University's budget that has to compensate for inflation and rising fees, Capaldi said.

Amy Foley, a public relations senior, said she understands the University's need to compensate for upgrades and escalating fees, but is discouraged that she won't see any improvements by the time she graduates.

"Having to increase tuition for students that are on their way out, now that's not fair," she said. "But it might be a necessary evil."

Renee Monforte, an elementary education sophomore and a New Jersey Community College transfer, said the University provides her no more than her previous school did and she has to pay more at ASU.

"I don't think the classes are any different from the community college, except I pay triple for them," she said of ASU. "A large school that makes this much money shouldn't have to increase anything."

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