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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Students await Board vote

    ASUA President Tommy Bruce updates the senate on the latest developments with the education budget crisis yesterday in the Tubac room of the Student Union Memorial Center.
    ASUA President Tommy Bruce updates the senate on the latest developments with the education budget crisis yesterday in the Tubac room of the Student Union Memorial Center.

    On the heels of a controversial recommendation from the Arizona Board of Regents Tuition Task Force to uncap tuition, Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Tommy Bruce warned the ASUA senate of the dark future that may be in store for Arizona universities.

    “”Traditionally our state does not value education,”” Bruce said of the pending cuts on education at ASUA’s weekly meeting last night. “”Nothing is certain right now.””

    The projected cuts to education, along with continuously rising tuition and fees, would set a dangerous precedent for the UA that could cripple the quality of education, he added.

    The state budget crisis is so dire that the regents were forced to hold an emergency meeting Tuesday, in the face of the continued challenge to meet the state budget in July.

    “”This would be an unprecedented mid-year tuition and fees increase,”” Bruce said. “”We have not done this before; this is not normal action.””

    The Tuition Task Force voted Tuesday to recommend to the board to uncap tuition at their April 30 regents meeting at the UA. The recommendation passed by a thin margin – a 6-5 vote – that split university officials against student voters like Student Regent David Martinez and ASUA President-elect Chris Nagata.

    The current policy asserts that Arizona universities restrict their tuition to the top of the bottom one-third of their peer institutions.

    While the measure seems to be arbitrarily specific, it is at least a ceiling over tuition that students desperately need, Bruce said.

    “”There is little to no logic to the policy,”” he said. “”But it’s the only ceiling (on tuition) left in existence.””

    Although uncapping tuition is sure to send a scare up and down Interstate-10, it simply allows those in power to make tough decisions without being handcuffed, said Executive Vice President Jessica Anderson.

    “”I think it gives the regents the necessary breathing room,”” she said. “”They shouldn’t be limited to archaic methods.””

    While Tuesday’s vote came down on the side of uncapping tuition, Arizona’s universities should keep in mind that it was only a recommendation – not a definitive stance, said Nagata, who voted against the recommendation.

    Either way the Board votes, the situation could force students to choose between the quality of their education and their pocketbooks.

    “”It leaves students in a very vulnerable position, because there are just no parameters to set tuition and fees at,”” Nagata said. “”If we suspend or exempt that policy … there’s nothing to secure an affordable and accessible education for the students at any public university.””

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