Students, hang on to your wallets. Tuition increases are in sight. The Arizona Board of Regents that oversees the three state universities is likely to approve university leaders’ requests to raise tuition this week. The proposed hikes range from 3.6 percent to nearly 9 percent.
The regents also are leaning toward approving a differential tuition and fee policy at their Thursday meeting in Tucson that would allow schools and colleges to charge more for certain programs requiring special equipment, materials or travel.
Student Regent Edward Hermes, a senior in political science and history at Arizona State University, is in the second and final year of his term on the board, which gives him the right to vote on the tuition proposals. He said he isn’t sure how he’ll vote, but said many students have told him they are worried.
“They feel like they’re being bombarded,” he said. “Tuition’s gone up much quicker than they expected.”
Costs of books, housing and food also continue to rise, he said.
Although students are begging the regents for leniency, only Northern Arizona University students will likely get their wish. The Flagstaff institution is asking for a 3.6 percent hike in base tuition for all students, reflecting only the rise in the rate of inflation. That means NAU students will pay about $150 more than this year’s $4,223.
Under ASU’s proposal, instate undergraduates at Tempe would pay base tuition of $4,677 — up nearly $366 from this year. ASU West and Polytechnic students would pay about $149 more than their current $4,251.
University of Arizona instate undergrads would pay $200 more than this year’s $4,394.
Since ASU President Michael Crow came to Tempe in 2002, tuition has increased about 67 percent, according to figures on the regents’ Web site. However, the university still has one of the lowest tuitions in the country — a result of the state’s constitutional requirements that college be accessible and affordable.
With differential tuition and fees likely to be tacked on, students in programs such as engineering, architecture and business will probably have to pay more because of the cost of equipment, technology and other needs.
The board is trying to address students’ and parents’ concerns by stipulating that with any proposal for differential tuition, universities must have an aid plan to keep the program affordable. Officials would have to show that the proposed differential is similar to tuition charged by peer programs at other institutions.
Officials also must meet with affected students before proposing differential tuition.
Also, the board probably will let programs charge special class fees or require deposits for programs where students pay admission to museums or other off-campus sites, pay for travel, rent equipment or facilities, or get training from an instructor specializing in a certain field.
Special fees also could apply in cases where students need technology, or the program needs to hire additional people, such as when art courses hire models for inclass drawing and painting.