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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Regents increase housing rates

Members of the Arizona Board of Regents approved revised proposals to increase residence halls and meal plan rates during their meeting on Friday.

Proposals for housing rates at the three state universities and meal plan rates at Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University were rejected Thursday after regents cited the increases as too high. The UA’s revised proposal dropped its increase in these areas from an average of 7.1 percent to 3.5 percent across the board.

Vice President for Student Affairs Melissa Vito said students who live or have lived in residence halls have higher grade point averages and graduate at higher rates than those who do not. She said the increases are necessary to fund the services that contribute to this success.

“”Our residence halls are really learning communities,”” Vito said. “”They are not just apartment complexes.””

Revenue used to make hall improvements will decrease $920,000 under the new proposal, according to Vito.

“”We will go back and work with our students and rework what those priorities would be,”” she said.

UA President Robert Shelton also presented the UA’s Strategic Business Plan during the meeting.

Between now and 2020 the UA will increase enrollment, graduation rates, research funding and community impact, all while using state funding as a lesser percentage of its budget, according to the report.

Shelton said he plans on increasing the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded by the UA, from 6,000 in 2011 to 6,900 in 2016. This growth will come from increasing enrollment in community college and other alternate degree pathways as well as improving retention and graduation rates.

Additional faculty and facilities will be needed to achieve these goals, Shelton said. He cited the use of Centennial Hall as a classroom as a success in using available space.

“”How do we maximize the quality of the instruction as we are moving more students through the pipeline with the same or slightly expanded facilities and personnel?”” he asked.

Research is another focus of the business plan, including expanding research facilities and increasing research funding. Faculty members already bring the UA an average of $345,000 each in research money, Shelton said.

“”We are going to have to make sure we award and attract good faculty,”” he said.

Shelton said improving college-readiness and increasing online degree options in high-demand fields are other goals of the strategic business plan.

“”What we need to emphasize here is getting students to degree completion,”” he said.

State support will fall from 42 percent of the UA’s education budget in 2011 to 27 percent in 2016, assuming the state does not cut funding, according to the report. Resident undergraduate tuition will comprise 24 percent of this budget by 2020 while non-resident undergraduate tuition will make up 33 percent.

Regent Rick Myers said the breakdown of funding shows the lack of state support.

“”It does really hit us in the face that now the state is spending less than half the money it costs to educate a student in Arizona,”” Myers said. “”The rest is paid by the students and their family.””

Chair Anne Mariucci said the report was impressive but makes plans starting with initiatives rather than available resources. She said she encouraged the UA to “”work backwards.””

“”I think you’ll start to see the outputs of that,”” Mariucci said. “”That might really transform how you look at your identity and prepare for the challenges and opportunities that will come in the next five years.””

The regents also heard a report from the Getting AHEAD project, which detailed programs for low-cost and alternative degree options. Regent Fred DuVal said the project is fulfilling its goals of increasing degree productivity.

Officers for 2011 to 2012 were unanimously approved. DuVal was elected as the new regents’ chair, replacing Mariucci. Regent Bob McClendon was elected as vice chair, Regent LuAnn Leonard was elected secretary and Regent Mark Killian was elected treasurer. Their terms will begin in July.

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