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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Funding proposal shortchanges the UA

Gov. Jan Brewer proposed a budget plan that will allocate a $15 million increase to the three in-state universities for one-time expenditures. A majority of the money, if her plan is approved by the Legislature, will go to ASU and NAU in an attempt to make up for previously unfunded growth of the schools.

Over the past four years, Arizona’s state universities have faced significant budget cuts due to the recession. In order to make up for these cuts, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University chose to increase their enrollment, causing a funding disparity per student compared to the UA. Brewer has proposed a disparity fund to support the two schools’ growth.

The majority of money from the fund would go toward technology and repairs. The goal is to have more equal funding per student, and because the UA hasn’t grown nearly as much as the other schools, it would get a small percentage of the disparity funds.

“Our facilities are simply not big enough to take a large number of students,” said UA President Eugene Sander. “Consequently we have been working towards steady but increased growth of higher quality students rather than taking on sheer numbers.”

Brewer’s budget plan also proposes another $15 million taken from the universities’ funding to be allocated to the three universities based on their performance. According to the Arizona Board of Regents President Tom Anderes, performance-based funding will be based on student enrollment, research productivity and complete credit hours.

“I think it indicates the way the Legislature views university education in the state by not putting a value in the way the
U of A approaches education,” said Roeland Hancock, a psychology graduate student and president of the Graduate and Professional Student Council. “The state seems to be more interested in simply producing students with college degrees without focusing on what kind of education they’re getting.”

Because the UA chose not to increase their enrollment as much as the other two state schools, they will not benefit as much from the enrollment funding. The UA would, however, get a portion of money for the research productivity.

Brewer’s proposal does not include funding for the UA’s medical school in Phoenix. The Arizona Board of Regents will propose this funding when it’s ready to go through the Legislature.

“We’ll be sitting down with the legislators and asking them for that money,” Anderes said. “I would be surprised if they don’t get some funding for the medical school (in Phoenix).”

Sander will meet with the appropriations committee of the House and Senate to discuss this year’s budget plan.

“Obviously we are disappointed that the governor didn’t make better recommendations concerning the U of A,” Sander said.

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