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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA talks money, taxes and tuition at an open panel discussion

As tuition continues to increase each year, members of the UA community question where exactly their money is going.

On Thursday evening, the Undergraduate Biology Research Program ambassadors organized a panel discussion titled Truth About Tuition: Educating Future Leaders But At What Cost? to address and answer questions students, faculty and community members had regarding where their thousands go each year.

According to Andrew Comrie, senior vice president of Academic Affairs and Provost, tuition is all put in a “big pot” to cover the average cost of educating a student, which is anywhere between $15,000 to $17,000 a year.

“You put [the annual tuition received] all together, and it pays for the whole system you see, including advisors, professors buildings and everything else,” Comrie said.

However, he and his colleagues do not deny that the system of higher education is unbalanced in our nation.

In 2008, the state of Arizona contributed about 78 percent of the cost to educate a student; now that number is down to 34 percent.

“The cost is different than tuition, the cost is more than the tuition, and there are all sorts of national reports that say yes, tuition has been going up, but cost actually has not been accelerating at that rate,” said Dr. Gary Rhoades, head of the Department of Educational Studies and Practices. “The reason the public specter tuition is going up is because the state’s support per capita is dramatically going down.”

According to Rick Meyers, a member of the Arizona Board of Regents, when he started his position on ABOR six years ago, the state contributed $1.1 billion to the three Arizona universities. In the past year, the state only contributed slightly over $600 million.

According to Meyers, the answer to the deficit is simply to vote.

“All of you need to vote and make sure you get people to vote that are willing to make taxes that are investments,” Meyers said. “None of us like taxes, but education of our people is not just a tax, its an investment of the future and to help strengthen the economy.”

The key is getting legislatures to understand how the money is being used.

Nura Dualeh, an audience member at the panel, wants every student to know they are worth the investment, even if the state does not see it.

“You are the authors of your own reality,” Dualeh said.

Dualeh urges that it is imperative students come together and push for a more affordable higher education.

“You’re totally changing the country in terms of gay rights; you’re totally changing the country in terms of interracial relations; so, change it in this way as well,” Dr. Rhoades said.

Follow Elisabeth Morales on Twitter.

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