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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“Tuition proposal excessive, not in the best interest of the students”

What’s going on: UA President Robert Shelton released a recommendation this Monday to the Arizona Board of Regents concerning tuition for the UA next year. As the Arizona Daily Star reported, Shelton is recommending ABOR set in-state tuition for undergraduates at $7,224 and out-of-state undergraduates at $23,276. This is an increase of 31 percent for in-state students and an increase of 12 percent for out-of-state students.

Why it matters: The President of the University should not be drafting recommendations that will so detrimentally effect every one of the UA’s current and future students. The leader of a university should consider and promote the best educational and economic interests of the more than 38,000 undergraduates and more than 10,000 graduate students. It is not the role of the president to advocate a tuition increase of nearly one-third for an equivalent or inferior education, treatinging students as just a revenue stream.

In a normal market situation, consumers would be able to react to a drastic increase in price by taking their business elsewhere. But students already enrolled at the UA will have to pay this sudden, increased cost in order to complete their degrees. A regular company would suffer if it suddenly raised prices without improving the product. But whether by state boundaries, financial limitations, ties to Tucson, or other reasons, UA students are bound to this campus and whatever cost the administration imposes. Students are captive consumers who can’t exercise choice with their money. The last person who should be recommending what some might see as extortion of UA students is the man holding the highest office of this university.

President Shelton says that only one-third of students will pay the full price of this new higher tuition. The financial aid of current students won’t miraculously increase by 31 percent to cover the increase in tuition. Many students have carefully budgeted UA tuition, considering only the regular rate of increase. Asking students to swallow $2,000 more dollars per year will make it impossible for many students to finish their degrees. What of the third of students who will have to change their financial plans in order to accommodate every single dollar of the increase? Do those students and their families who don’t qualify for financial aid somehow deserve to be charged more?

The real issue here is the poor management of state funds. President Shelton would not have to raise tuition to this degree if the state had not eliminated $100 million in funding to the UA. In the November elections, students should select their candidates with an extra $2,000 dollars of debt in mind. We must select leaders who support allocating funds to higher education, as well as elected officials who can manage money without having to lease the state capital and pass their debt onto a bunch of college students.

ABOR should not approve this tuition increase. This reduces the accessibility and viability of a UA education for all prospective students. Though the UA does not exactly operate in a real market, a real recommendation would be for President Shelton and the state legislature to take a class (if they can afford it) in worth, cost, value, and how much their captive market can bear.

It is wrong to recommend a 30 percent increase in price for a zero percent increase in value. Students are not mindless, faceless revenue streams. ABOR will be holding a tuition hearing at 5 p.m. on March 1 in Harvill building room 211. Join us in presenting what is really in the students’ best interest.

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