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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Arizona Board of Regents: Board mulls tuition-setting process, increases today”

    Regents are discussing possible revisions today that could change how tuition is priced and distributed in future years among different disciplines and colleges statewide.

    The Resources Committee is asking the Arizona Board of Regents to add definitions to the tuition-setting policy for base tuition, which is the standard university tuition price, and differential tuition, which deviates from the base and applies to an entire college, school or campus, according to the agenda.

    While the UA already has colleges that have differentiated tuition, like the Eller College of Management and the James E. Rogers College of Law, there are no policies or procedures to help administrators determine when a differential tuition is necessary, said Ben Graff, the voting student regent.

    “”These policies really put forth how to evaluate different sets of tuition,”” said Graff, a third-year law student. “”This item also allows universities to compare a student’s major not with other universities but instead with peer programs and colleges.””

    But in doing so, there is also the potential that students’ tuition could be placed above the bottom of the top one-third when regents strive to keep tuition below the top one-third, Graff said.

    “”This could make a significant change in what universities perceive as low tuition,”” Graff said.

    Graff said he’s already heard concerns from UA students about how differential tuition could impact how future students pick their majors and receive financial aid.

    If students know one major is more expensive than another, they may be inclined to choose what’s more affordable rather than what they are interested in, Graff said.

    A way the colleges can counteract that problem is by providing adequate financial aid from special program and class fees and the differential tuition itself, he said.

    “”Differentiated tuition is not the end of the world, but we have to keep tabs on how financial aid has risen to the level where it can accommodate the changes,”” Graff said.

    Before a university can implement a differential tuition that costs more than the base tuition, the revisions state it must follow a general list of criteria:

  • It should substantially increase the learning experience for the student that would not be possible without an increase.
  • It provides financial aid plans for qualified students who cannot afford the differential amount.
  • There is evidence the differential tuition is comparable to the student cost for similar units at peer institutions.
  • There is evidence the increase would benefit the university as a whole, not just one discipline.
  • The tuition plan has been extensively discussed with students who would be affected.
  • These revisions are part of the regents’ changing directions and redesign initiatives that allow tuition and course fees to be based off the different missions of each discipline at the state universities, said Anne Barton, public affairs official for the regents.

    “”This just makes it more clear,”” Barton said. “”These guidelines will make it a lot easier for everyone to be on the same page.””

    In the same stride, Barton said the proposed amendments also ask the regents to approve special program fees.

    This fee would allow higher-cost colleges to charge students more money to cover technological, equipment and personnel expenses that are not standard in other fields, according to the agenda.

    Other items on tomorrow’s agenda include the UA’s requests to:

  • Approve a multiple-year employment contract for Andy Lopez, the head baseball coach, from March 1 through June 30, 2011.
  • Approve the Student Recreation Center expansion and the Intercollegiate Athletics Facilities for the UA’s fiscal year Capital Development Plan for 2006.
  • Increase the budget of the Family and Consumer Sciences building from $15.3 million to $22 million.
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