Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
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.