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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ABOR approves tuition increase

    The Arizona Board of Regents increased tuition for all three of Arizona’s universities today, despite shows of support for a tuition freeze by students and Regent Dennis DeConcini.

    “”It is time for us to be more aggressive with the legislature and put the burden on them,”” DeConcini said, receiving applause from students in the audience who wore blue shirts with the slogan “”freeze tuition.””

    After discussion surrounding the state’s economic shortfall, the regents passed President Shelton’s tuition proposal with a vote of seven-to-two.

    Beginning the 2008-09 school year, tuition for the University of Arizona’s undergraduate resident students will increase by $450. Tuition for out-of-state undergraduate students will increase by $2,350. Tuition for resident graduate students will increase by $520 and $2,350 for non-resident graduate students.

    “”This money will help to bring in more teachers and tutors from freshman orientation until graduation,”” Shelton said. “”We simply cannot do that for free, no matter how supportive the state legislature may be.””

    Other regents expressed concern in the students’ proposal to freeze tuition, adding that the responsibility of setting tuition cannot fall into the hands of the legislature.

    “”This (proposal) is allowing the legislature to decide on how to set tuition,”” said Regent Gary Stuart. “”It is one thing to ask for funding, but it is simply impossible this year because of the shortfall and we cannot delegate to the legislature the responsibility of deciding the rate of tuition.””

    Regent DeConcini disagreed, adding that the students’ proposal, which places more responsibility on the state legislature to increase funding, could be amended to support a five percent increase should state dollars not come through.

    Regent Ernest Calderon, who has traditionally voted in support of students, also voted against the tuition freeze, citing the current economy.

    “”It’s just not humanly possible for the legislature to support us on this,”” he said.

    Tommy Bruce, president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, expressed dissatisfaction with the board’s decision.

    “”I’m disappointed,”” he said. “”I was expecting a compromise, but they completely disregarded student support for a tuition freeze. This is going to have a completely negative effect on the university.””

    However, Regent Calderon said he was not surprised by the outcome of the vote.

    “”We had no place to go,”” Calderon said. “”Three out of five years that I’ve been on this board, I have always voted with students, but, if I voted for the freeze, we’d have to cut student activities, funding groups, etc.””

    After casting his vote, Calderon told the board that the presidents of each university need to start finding ways to decrease spending without affecting students, if the state economy worsens.

    In addition to the tuition increase, the regents passed Shelton’s proposed $40 student services fee, which will double the following year. The fee will help fund student support programs, such as campus safety, health and counseling services. The regents also approved the College of Law and the College of Pharmacy’s differential tuition proposals, as well as the Journalism, Optical Sciences and Eller College of Management professional program fees.

    “”We fought tooth and nail to the end,”” Bruce said. “”Students are consumers of education, the university will always need money, but that doesn’t mean that we need to make students pay for it.””

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