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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Students warm to tuition plans

    Students who will receive the greatest benefit from differential tuition said they’re in favor of paying more as long as they know how the extra dollars will be spent.

    Students at last night’s Arizona Board of Regents tuition hearing agreed that before implementing a differential tuition, which would set different tuition rates for higher-cost programs and colleges, the students need to know what priorities their money will support.

    “”Otherwise, it just looks like more money coming from their pockets,”” said Fernando Ascencio, chairman of the finance committee of the Arizona Students’ Association.

    By involving students in the process of determining how tuition dollars are spent, it makes them more inclined to support an increase because they’re able to see exactly how they will benefit, said Richard Chesney, an architecture junior.

    When the School of Architecture made plans last semester to set a $600 differential tuition for next year, Chesney said the dean created an advisory committee to poll students on whether they’d support the increase.

    On the first survey, the students were not told what priorities the extra tuition dollars would fund, and the results showed an even split between those who supported the increase and those who didn’t, said Chesney, who also sat on the committee.

    But after the committee determined where the dollars would go and showed the breakdown to the students, Chesney said the ratio of supporters quickly shifted.

    “”Most changed their minds and were in favor of it,”” Chesney said. “”Instead of seeing it as an increase, they see it as an investment.””

    Without making such an investment, the students suffer in the long run because they’re working with resources that are off par with those available to their peers, said Christina Perpich, president of the Society of Civil Engineers.

    Outdated computer programs, a lack of lab equipment and struggling efforts to retain quality faculty are problems that plague professional schools because there are not enough funds to cover such expenses, said Perpich, a civil engineering senior.

    These costs are not associated with every discipline, Perpich said, so colleges and programs that take in more expenses need a differential tuition so they can provide the quality of education that professional students expect.

    “”There needs to be improvements made, and the money has to come from somewhere,”” Perpich said. “”But there needs to be student input on where the money will go.””

    If students are left in the dark, they will be unable to ensure that their dollars are going back to them, said Christopher Dang, a director of the Arizona Students’ Association.

    “”They need to see that their tuition dollars are an investment with a direct return,”” said Dang, a political science senior.

    Ian Durnan, president of the Eller College of Management Student Council, agreed and added that he hopes the “”level of transparency”” regarding the funds remains high among administrators and students.

    The regents will consider whether a college or program included student input in their differential tuition proposal before applying a higher or lower tuition, said Regent Fred Boice.

    “”For colleges and programs, it’s easier to isolate specific dollars and determine exactly where they will go,”” Boice said. “”It’s important to show students how that will work.””

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