Gov. Janet Napolitano said Wednesday she plans to ask state lawmakers for more cash to help students from families with limited income attend state universities.
Napolitano, a voting member of the state Board of Regents, said she doesn’t intend to be at today’s meeting where the panel will determine how much students will pay this coming school year.
Nor would the governor say whether she believes the recommendations of the three university presidents is merited.
Instead, Napolitano said she will be working on her budget — and specifically a plan to put more cash into the Arizona Financial Aid Trust.
That provides assistance to students in need. But the pot is limited: The $5.4 million available this school year aided 3,768 undergraduates and 351 graduate students, about 4 percent of the total enrolled.
The regents plan to ask lawmakers to increase state funding for the trust from the current $7.1 million a year, to $10 million.
That actually generates more as students also pay 1 percent of their tuition into the trust. Technically it is a voluntary contribution, though regents’ spokeswoman Anne Barton said few students opt out.
The trust scholarships provide no real help for those whose family income is too high to qualify — and will have to bear the full burden of the hikes.
Arizona State University wants a 7 percent increase in tuition. But with fees — including 1 percent for the Financial Aid Trust — that brings the total for resident undergraduates to $5,111 a year, a 9.1 percent hike.
A 7.6 percent increase is being sought for resident undergraduates at ASU Polytechnic and ASU West, to $4,905.
Tuition and fees would go up by $368 a year, which is 7.7 percent, at the University of Arizona’s main campus, to $5,122. Students at UA South would see a 6.4 percent hike, to $4,420.
And an 8.4 percent hike is being sought for the main campus of Northern Arizona University, to $4,929; students at NAU Yuma and at other sites statewide would face a 5.5 percent increase, to $4,623.
At least one reason that university presidents have sought tuition hikes is to make up for what they do not receive in direct state subsidies.