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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ASA proposal gains ground

    If you’ve been waiting to find out how much tuition will increase next year, your wait is almost over.

    The price of tuition for the 2009-2010 school year will be set today at the Arizona Board of Regents meeting at Arizona State University in Tempe.

    President Robert Shelton lowered his original proposal of a 13.1 percent increase to a 9 percent increase, and introduced a new indexed tuition plan on Monday, which would start in 2010.

    In response to Shelton’s proposal, Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Tommy Bruce, Sen. Emily Fritze, Muslim Students Association President Omar Salim and Arizona Students Association board chair Michael Slugocki spoke at a press conference Wednesday morning at ASUA’s offices.

    Among one of the more talked about issues was the ASA’s counter tuition proposal.

    “”In regards to the new proposal from President Shelton, we really appreciate, once again, that he’s done this, that he’s taken into consideration the student voice,”” Fritze said.

    Though grateful that Shelton lowered his original proposal, speakers at the press conference continued to support the student tuition proposal.

    “”We still believe strongly in our proposal. We still believe in the predictable measures that come with a cost of living increase. We believe that a predictable model should start immediately,”” Bruce said. “”We believe that that’s something the students deserve and is necessary for their success.””

    ASA’s proposal, which calls for tuition to be set according to predictability, foresight and student involvement, would allow for students to make definite plans on their academic future – something that is missing when the UA takes a year-to-year approach to tuition, he said.

    “”Predictability is absolutely vital to a student’s success to be able to plan and get their degree, not just come for a semester or two of their education,”” Bruce said.

    In addition to predictability, the ASA proposal calls for accountability and affordability.

    “”One thing that was really appreciated on our side was the tuition expenditure report that the presidents will have to give,”” Salim said. “”And what this does is really show where our money’s being spent and in full public view.””

    In addition to a nod from the Muslim Students Association, the ASA proposal has received endorsements from the ASUA Senate, the African Students’ Association, Interfraternity Council, the Law Cats of Arizona and the Residence Hall Association.

    To gather more support before students traveled to Tempe, members of ASA, ASUA and Students for Arizona Public Interest Research Group participated in a Day of Action Wednesday.

    Volunteers worked a table on the UA Mall where students could show their support for ASA’s tuition proposal and learn more about it.

    About 20 students laid down on the walkway along the Mall in front of Canyon Café, several holding signs supporting predictability, accountability and affordability of tuition. Intended to be a flash mob, the students stayed on the ground for two or three minutes.

    “”I helped put together the flash mob, which didn’t go as we had originally planned,”” said Daniel Hernandez, a biology freshman.

    He said that by staying on the ground for a bit longer, the group of students was able to attract more attention and more cards signed.

    The cards were both in support of this year’s ASA tuition proposal and for students to join the Solutions Through Higher Education Coalition.

    “”That’s a way that we can look beyond just this year,”” Bruce said of the coalition. “”And look at the core of this problem that our state and essentially our nation do not value higher education as they should.””

    Prior to volunteer efforts in the past week or so, there were about 3,000 coalition members, Bruce said. The Solutions Through Higher Education Coalition encompasses supporters at Northern Arizona University, ASU and the UA.

    More than 750 UA students signed cards to become members of the coalition during recent efforts, ASA member Elma Delic said. More than 25 clubs have also signed their support of ASA’s proposal.

    “”We’ve seen our president lower the tuition percentage that he originally presented, and we’ve seen him present an indexed predictable tuition model,”” Bruce said, “”So we’re moving forward in the right direction.””

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