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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Regents plan for ‘proposed’ future

    UA students display their opposition to the proposed budget cuts as Michael Slugocki, ASA president, conveys his disapproval of the proposed legislation to the Arizona Board of Regents at the North Ballroom of SUMC, Thursday. Over 900 people attended the meeting.
    UA students display their opposition to the proposed budget cuts as Michael Slugocki, ASA president, conveys his disapproval of the proposed legislation to the Arizona Board of Regents at the North Ballroom of SUMC, Thursday. Over 900 people attended the meeting.

    In the wake of $600 million in budget cuts proposed by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, the Arizona Board of Regents, approved an exception to increase the limit on full-time non-resident undergraduate enrollment from 30 percent to 40 percent.

    The meeting Thursday in the north ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center was the first step to try and resolve the financial crisis facing Arizona higher education.

    Regent Robert Bulla mentioned that although non-resident undergraduate enrollment would increase, resident enrollment would remain the same, if not above the 2008 levels.

    Bulla said that the UA, increasing non-resident undergraduate enrollment to 35 percent would generate more than $20 million in revenue, and increasing the enrollment to 40 percent would generate more than $40 million in revenue.

    “”These are the kinds of policy changes that the Board will need to look at to help expenses,”” Bulla said.

    Regent Bob McLendon agreed that this would be a somewhat safe way to increase the universities’ income, as long as the in-state students remain a priority.

    “”My greatest concern is to protect our in-state students,”” McLendon said. “”I believe that is very important.””

    Presidents from Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, and the UA were also all allotted time at the meeting to discuss what the proposed cuts will do to their universities if they were to become a reality.

    UA President Robert Shelton said that if the legislative budget cuts go through, the UA would have a $103 million reduction in state support for this fiscal year, plus five additional months.

    “”$100 million equates to 2,000 jobs lost, which is half of the jobs funded by the University of Arizona,”” Shelton said. “”Another way to look at $100 million is it is equivalent to the state support of the Colleges of Science, Agriculture, Life Science, Nursing and Pharmacy.””

    He explained the timeline of these cuts as “”multiple trains leaving the station.””

    Decisions on what classes to offer in the fall, classes sizes, amount of teaching assistant jobs offered, and tuition and fees are just a sample of the many difficulties that may have a hazy resolution.

    However, Shelton said the university-wide analyses that administrators have been conducting since September will help inform these decisions.

    Judging by the state of Arizona’s economy, the UA is ready to take their fair share of budget cuts, but cuts of this magnitude are far from fair, he said.

    “”This would enforce massive layoffs, it would enforce the closure of departments and indeed whole colleges, it (would) create fewer class sections and larger classes,”” Shelton said.

    In addition to the effect that the cuts will have on the classroom environment, he said that they would also severely hinder the amount of available student services.

    “”The Office of Student Affairs would decrease its services for students,”” Shelton said. “”Tuition and fees would rise, and we would lose some of our very best faculty who would of course take millions of dollars of research grants with them.””

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