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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Regents reject Shelton’s plan; tuition to rise $206

    TEMPE – Following the Board of Regents’ decision on tuition for the 2009-2010 academic year, resident students may breathe a little easier ð- at least for a short while. But while the in-state students can relax, out-of-state students should get used to digging deep for pennies.

    President Robert Shelton’s original base tuition and fee recommendation for resident undergraduate students was 9.5 percent, adding $545 to last year’s bill.

    In a discussion preceding the vote on the proposal, Regent Robert Bulla supported Shelton’s proposal, saying that keeping tuition stagnant will eventually lead to a dead end.

    “”Trying to free something up to help people has never worked. For example, our low-tuition model was a complete failure,”” Bulla said. “”We cannot do our job until we have the tuition to do what we need to do.””

    However, Regent Dennis DeConcini countered Bulla’s argument, expressing his worry for the economic state of university students. DeConcini pleaded to the board to reconsider such a raise.

    “”This is not the time to raise tuition. We live in a different time now … people are out of a job, and some are even having trouble paying for basic needs,”” DeConcini said. “”I understand the need for tuition revenue by these universities, but we must keep in mind that these are extremely difficult times. Now is not the time to pass a large tuition increase.””

    DeConcini made an amendment to the set base of resident undergraduate tuition and asked the board to cut Shelton’s request of a 9.5 percent increase down to 3.7 percent. DeConcini offered the same amendment to Arizona State and Northern Arizona University – in neither place did the amendment pass.

    However, when it came time to discuss the UA’s financial state, the board seemed to sway towards DeConcini’s ideology: a 9.5 percent tuition increase is too heavy a burden for in-state students. The amendment passed six to three.

    “”For those who agreed with my amendment agree that there is a crisis at the University of Arizona, but judging by how they voted for the other universities there is not a crisis?”” DeConcini asked. “”I think that this crisis is throughout the university system, and that is why I offered this amendment to all three universities. I only wish I had some more support of other board members so we can apply this to all the universities. Right now it’s quite unfair.””

    On the other side of the spectrum, unfairness echoed from Regent President Fred Boice. He spoke to the board following the amendment’s win, stating that it is “”unfair”” for ASU and NAU to receive the tuition increases they proposed while the UA did not.

    “”I must say, regents, I am appalled,”” Boice said. “”It is as if we are punishing the UA for something. Unless there is something the University of Arizona has done wrong that we can rectify right now, then I don’t see the rationale and this is unfair.””

    While in-state undergraduates may be able to sleep a little easier, Shelton’s proposed 14 percent increase for non-resident undergraduate students still stands, winning unanimously nine to zero. This increase adds $2,620 to last year’s non-resident undergraduate tuition and fees bill.

    The board validated their support for the non-resident increase because the Arizona residents are the main concern in a situation like this.

    “”Our main priority is educating the residents of Arizona,”” commented DeConcini. “”Out-of-state tuitions are where we should raise the money.””

    Shelton, along with the Board of Regents, has stressed that although tuition is going up, financial aid officers will do all that they can to ease the financial pain on the students.

    “”We are very committed to affordability for both the in-state student and the out-of-state student,”” Shelton said. “”Records have shown that as tuition has gone up, our financial aid offices work very hard with the students. We make a point to keep the students in class and help them graduate with minimal debt.””

    The Associated Students of the University of Arizona president Tommy Bruce said the outcome of the meeting was anything but expected. Bruce said that he is grateful that Shelton has done all that he can to compromise with the student leadership at UA, and this “”extremely difficult”” process is going to rely on transparency and compromising.

    Bruce said that the outcome of the decision was “”sort of a mixed bag,”” because the outcome for the non-resident undergraduate does not leave much breathing room.

    “”As for the out-of-state tuition, that is an extremely difficult conversation to have. The biggest problem for the out-of-state students is that it is not predictable. These students had no idea that they were walking into an additional $2,500,”” Bruce said. “”But there is financial aid available, and as President Shelton has said numerous times the university will bend over backwards to ensure accessibility.””

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