Despite university students’ efforts to head off a tuition hike, it’s going up. The state Board of Regents voted Thursday to raise tuition as much as 6.5 percent for in-state undergraduates.
They already had approved increases for out-of-state undergrads and all graduate students in March.
Regent Dennis DeConcini, a former U.S. senator from Tucson, was the only member to vote against raising Arizona State University tuition in Tempe by $280, or 6.5 percent more than this year’s annual tuition of $4,311.
“It seems to me that you have an opportunity here . . . to put the Legislature on the spot,” DeConcini told the board.
He suggested that the board offer a tuition range, and wait to make a final decision after the Legislature votes on appropriations.
By setting rates now, “we’re going to take the blame for this,” DeConcini said.
The rest of the board was cautious, though. Regent Robert Bulla of Phoenix said the board couldn’t wait for the Legislature’s vote because incoming students need to know what tuition will be as they accept scholarships and other aid.
ASU students at Polytechnic in Mesa and West in Phoenix will pay 3.5 percent more in annual tuition, adding $149 to this year’s tuition of $4,251.
Northern Arizona University students in Flagstaff will pay 3.6 percent more next year, approximately $152 over this year’s tuition of $4,142. University of Arizona students will pay 4.6 percent more, adding $200 to this year’s tuition of $4,394.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, an ex officio regent, went on record as opposing increases at all three universities.
Republicans Rep. Laura Knaperek of Tempe and Sen. Linda Gray of Phoenix, leaders of the House and Senate higher education committees respectively, wrote a letter Wednesday to Regent Gary Stuart expressing concern at the latest tuition proposals.
“It is our belief that high tuition increases are detrimental to many students and lower-income families,” the lawmakers said.
They asked that the regents consider raising tuition no higher than the rate of inflation, which is about 3.5 percent. The lawmakers also noted that the Legislature is considering an $8 million proposal to provide aid to students in the form of payment for jobs or internships relating to their studies.