Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona

As UA tuition increases, will mini-dorms become empty monuments to greed?

Mini-dorm in the Feldman Neighborhood. (Photo Credit: Pamela Powers)

Michael Goodman, Richard Studwell, and other local developers have been merrily knocking down old houses and replacing them with mini-dorms for years now. They saw dollar signs when the University of Arizona announced that it would increase enrollment gradually from 38,000 to nearly 50,000 students but wouldn’t have enough dormitories to house them.

In addition to the mini-dorms, developers have proposed building multiple large dormitories in downtown Tucson.

Enter the Arizona Legislature to mess things up for these local businessmen.

The latest proposed budget cuts millions more from all levels of education, including $92 million from the UA budget. To make up part of that loss, the UA wants to raise tuition…again. From the Arizona Daily Star

The University of Arizona wants to increase base tuition and fees for Arizona students by $1,790 next year, a 22 percent hike [for in-state students].

If the proposal is accepted by the Arizona Board of Regents, the UA will have nearly doubled tuition and mandatory fees in six years as it uses more tuition revenue to cover increasing expenses and lost state support.

The increase would raise $22 million in extra tuition revenue for the UA. Gov. Jan Brewer has proposed a $67 million budget cut for the UA next year, and state Senate leaders have proposed a $92 million cut. The UA would make up the balance of the deficit through reduced spending and use of federal stimulus dollars.

Students would pay just over $10,000 next year, up from about $8,200 this year. Students also pay additional tuition and fees for particular programs, classes and services.

The UA has raised tuition– due to budget cuts– 24 of the past 25 years. Including the new proposed tuition increase, tuition at Arizona universities has increased 58 to 64 percent since the 2007-08 school year, depending on the campus. At what point will the UA become unaffordable for most Arizona high school graduates? Or is it already?

As tuition skyrockets, the Arizona Legislature may accomplish something the Tucson Mayor and Council have grappled with for years– stopping the spread of mini-dorms.

That 50,000 student enrollment figure is looking more like pie in the sky everyday, if the UA can’t get reliable funding from the state. If I were Goodman and Studwell, I’d be riding to Phoenix with UA President Robert Shelton to lobby Governor Jan Brewer to veto the budget as it currently stands. Remember her? She’s the one who says she values education. Now is the time for her actions to match her PR. With that veto pen, she has the opportunity to be both education friendly and business friendly.

10 comments on “As UA tuition increases, will mini-dorms become empty monuments to greed?

  1. Fraser007
    April 6, 2011

    You and I may not agree on much but this is one topic where we will agree. I lived in Sam Hughes for 12 years. We bought my wifes grandmothers house. (The family had it built in 1928).
    These developers will go where there is weakness (just like cancer) thats why they choose the areas they do. Buts its also no better than the U of A who will buy the homes of some older citizens, move in some stupid little office or lab, that will make people want to move because they see the neighborhood being busted up. After the neighborhood goes to hell they start bulldozing the homes and put in parking lots then U of A buildings. The minidorm scavengers as well as the U of A are feeding off of the same plate. They both want the neighborhoods destroyed.


    • Pamela Powers
      April 6, 2011

      You’re spot on, Fraser. (Did I really say this? :))
      One of the articles I linked to says the UA has dorms for 10% or so of their students.  Being in Sam Hughes, your house will be fine. They’re too expensive for Goodman and Studwell.


  2. Brewer busy with other things ...
    April 6, 2011

    Having fixed K-12 and higher ed, she is now fixing the Fiesta Bowl:



  3. plain ol' B.O.
    April 6, 2011

     The mini-dorms are not the eye sores, frankly…The shoddy “neighborhood” shacks (homes)  with the rent signs are the blight.

    These  “neighbors” just don’t like the competetion for the rent dollars, and are now latching on to a shakey zoning arguement- Which is ok for most these shysters (lawyer/landlords) since they will be on the prowl for all money they can make in courts.     
    These fine citizens would have you believe that you can back out zoning desisions and make the investors take the fall….And yet the disaster that is Uof A will not affect their pockets as well. 


  4. Steve S
    April 7, 2011

    $10,000 for a college eduaction is a joke. The idea that these kids are subsidized by taxpayers, then get federal grants and loans to boot, only to learn the earth is warming is a recipe for an entitlement mindset fostered by democrats. I say raise it to what it actually costs. Then we’ll see how much everyone loves these genius professors who are generally overpaid, overappreciated and tenured.


    • Jim Hannley
      April 8, 2011

      Yeah, Steve, hoo needs all that fancy booklearnin anyhow?


      April 8, 2011

      1% of people owning 40% of the wealth is a joke. Repuglikkkans not believing in history, science, or education is a joke. Spending all the govt’s money on law enforcement and the military is a joke. In short, Steve you are the joke!


      • Plain ol B.O.
        April 8, 2011

        Yeah, lets’ tear into their houses and redistribute the wealth as we see fit- I can definitely see where all this ‘education’ has left EL MERO, our working class hero 


        • leftfield
          April 8, 2011

          Truth is that wealth is being “redistributed” like never before.  It’s just that so long as the wealth is “redistributed” upwards, the right wing is OK with that.   


  5. Jim Hannley
    April 8, 2011

    I hope the irony is not lost upon your readers, Pam. I suggest that perhaps, after the crash of the State University system that the “mini dorms” are converted to “mini Hoovervillles” filled with single unemployed men. There is no doubt of course that as these minidorm predators find there are no students to rent to, they’ll make a call to Mayor and Council and make and smokin’ deal with them to buy their white elephants and convert them to public housing.


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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela J. Powers

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals–not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election.

My platform focused on economic reforms to grow Arizona’s economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, grow local small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs.

In the Arizona House, I was a strong voice for fiscal responsibility a moratorium on corporate tax breaks until the schools were fully funded, increased cash assistance to the poor, expansion of maternal healthcare benefits, equal rights, choice, unions, education at all levels and protecting our water supply.

After three terms, I retired from the Arizona Legislature in January 2023 but will continue to blog and produce my podcast “A View from the Left Side.”

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