A modest base tuition increase of 3 percent for resident and non-resident undergraduate and graduate students is necessary for 2013-14 if the University of Arizona is to meet its local, institutional and Arizona Board of Regents-mandated goals, the UA told ABOR this week.
The UA's tuition recommendation, which also includes an $80 fee increase for the libraries but no other mandatory fee increases, has been developed in consultation with both undergraduate and graduate student leadership and reflects their feedback and priorities.
Tuition revenue generated by the increase will support key initiatives including the retention and graduation of students, seeding research, making engagement experiences possible for all students, online and alternative educational delivery, the retention and recruitment of faculty and attending to critical life, safety and code building repairs.
"We are looking to our collective strengths as an institution as we strategically position the UA for a successful future at the local, national and global levels," UA President Ann Weaver Hart said.
Under the UA's recommendation, resident undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees for the main campus would be $10,391 for 2013-14, up from $10,035 in 2012-13. For non-residents, tuition and fees would be $27,073, up from $26,231. At UA South, resident undergraduates would pay $8,246, up from $7,941, and non-residents would pay $26,650, up from $25,808.
For resident graduate students on the main campus, tuition and fees would be $11,511, up from $11,122, and $27,383, up from $26,533, for non-residents. At UA South, resident graduate students would pay $10,770, up from $10,390, and non-residents would pay $26,960, up from $26,114.
The increase in tuition revenue will preserve student access to educational resources and lead to success through investments in financial aid, greater course availability and new sources of academic support. In the 2012 fiscal year, the UA invested more than $168 million in financial aid.
State budget cuts suffered by the UA – more than $180 million since 2008 – are unprecedented and well-documented. Adjusted for the Consumer Price Index, per-student funding for the UA is at its lowest level since 1967.
Despite these sharp cuts, the UA has been achieving distinctions never before seen in its history. For the first time this academic year, overall enrollment topped 40,000. Retention and graduation rates are up, as is the number of baccalaureate degrees conferred.
To replace lost state funding, the UA is diversifying the variety and size of its revenue streams and is undertaking projects to optimize its efficiency. The UA is completing a comprehensive, campus-wide strategic planning process that will directly tie the University's strategic plan to measurable goals, metrics and financial modeling.
"Our efforts will enable us to strategize, then model and cost-out all of our efforts as we move forward, increasing efficiency and optimizing our resources," Hart said.
Projects toward these goals include:
- Optimizing access and recruiting meritorious students
- Forming and implementing Tech Launch Arizona to optimize the development of intellectual property, patents and economic development within the community
- Modeling the impacts of increasing non-resident and international student enrollment
- Increasing the number of undergraduate degrees awarded to transfer students, lowering front-end remediation for first-time, first-year students, and increasing academic preparation of first-time, first-year students
- Hiring faculty across disciplines to increase research effectiveness and to boost grant funding toward meeting 2020 goals set forth by the regents
- Encouraging grant-active faculty in the humanities, social sciences and arts to seek more non-traditional sources of research funding
- Tasking the UA Foundation with increasing annual giving and with launching a comprehensive fundraising campaign
"This is an exciting time to be at the UA," Hart said. "I could not be more pleased with the progress that various teams are making across our institution."
A public, interactive hearing will be held on March 27, 5-7 p.m., on the UA, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University campuses where students and other interested parties can provide testimony and comments on the tuition and mandatory fee proposals for the 2013-14 academic year.
The hearings will be conducted via videoconference, connecting the three main campuses with additional sites throughout the state. UA locations include:
- Gallagher Theatre, Student Union Memorial Center, main campus
- B153, Academic Technology Building, UA Sierra Vista
Comments at the tuition hearing will be heard on a first-come, first-served basis, rotating through participant sites throughout the state. Speakers will be limited to two minutes each to allow for a greater number of speakers to participate.
ABOR is expected to set final tuition and fees for the 2013-14 academic year at its April 4 meeting at the UA. Those who cannot attend the hearing can send their comments via email to the board at firstname.lastname@example.org; by regular mail, at 2020 N. Central Ave., Suite 230, Phoenix, AZ 85004; or by fax at 602-229-2555.
All comments received prior to March 30 at 5 p.m. will be shared with the regents in advance of the April 4 meeting. Comments on tuition will not be permitted during the call to the audience at the April ABOR meeting.