The University of Arizona has amended its initial tuition proposal for 2012-13, now recommending no increase for new resident undergraduate students – in addition to no increase for continuing resident undergraduates.
To offset this decrease in revenue, the UA would further curtail expenditures, UA President Eugene G. Sander said.
The UA's poposal to increase tuition by less than 3 percent for non-resident and graduate students still stands. No new mandatory fees are being recommended.
The Arizona Board of Regents, which oversees the state's three public universities, will set tuition at its April 5-6 board meeting.
Tuition dollars expand student access through investments in financial aid, student success through greater course availability for undergraduates and new sources of academic support for students.
The 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.
"This additional tuition revenue is critical to our financial health and is necessary to support program growth in priority areas," Sander said. Those priority areas include computational biosciences, the environment and sustainability, energy, regional engagement and global studies.
"Investment in instructional technology will also be necessary so that we can expand hybrid and online course and program offerings," Sander said. "Continued requests for state appropriation to support our partnerships with selected Arizona community colleges, where we will concentrate on increasing lower-cost degrees in areas of Arizona not readily served by the university system, will be an ongoing effort."
For 2011-12, the regents required a $750 rebate to UA resident undergraduate students to help offset a $1,500 increase in base tuition. This was a one-time rebate driven by "a belief that the UA should first draw down institutional reserves before putting an additional burden on our students," Sander said.
The UA's reserves now are below the recommended lower range of the median of its peer institutions.
For 2012-13, this restored revenue would go toward enrollment expenses, financial aid, cost increases (such as for utilities) and faculty retention.
In the midst of extraordinary budget reductions, the UA has taken an approach that protected academic quality and invested significantly in financial aid to ensure that all qualified students have an opportunity to attend the UA. In the 2012 fiscal year, more than $154 million of institutional dollars are being invested in financial aid.
The UA's commitment to affordability has resulted in a percentage of undergraduate students carrying debt after graduation very similar to that seen in fiscal year 2005.
In addition, the University's commitment to quality is bearing fruit. Even in the midst of a historic reduction in state appropriations, the UA has been achieving distinctions never-before-seen in its history.
This year, the UA is seeing record enrollment, record numbers of applicants, record research performance, record diversity, record numbers of national scholars and record access to a University degree. In addition, students are averaging more credit hours than at any point since the UA began tracking this data.
In the most recent Undergraduate Campus Climate Survey, UA students said overwhelmingly that they are receiving a quality education, satisfied with the quality of faculty instruction and that the UA provides them with a challenging academic experience.
The regents will conduct a public, interactive hearing to hear testimony and comments from the public, students and other interested parties regarding tuition from 5-7 p.m. on March 28. At the UA, the hearing will be held in Gallagher Theatre in the Student Union Memorial Center on the main campus, and in the Academic Technology Building, B153, in Sierra Vista.
Those who cannot attend can send their comments via email to the Arizona Board of Regents 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 their April 5-6 meeting.