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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ABOR forum to tackle tuition

    Today is the last chance to speak out in an official setting against the upcoming rise in tuition.

    The Arizona Board of Regents will be holding a tuition hearing tonight at 5 p.m. in the South Ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center.

    The board is required to hold a tuition hearing 10 days before Regents meetings when tuition is being set, according to ABOR regulations.

    The hearing is an opportunity for concerned members of the university communities to voice their opinions and give feedback on the tuition setting. No such opportunity will be given to members of the audience at the Board’s regularly scheduled meeting to set tuition on April 30, as Regents will not take feedback on tuition setting during the meeting’s call to audience.

    “”I think it’s incredibly important to show the presidents and the Regents that this will make college unaffordable,”” said Michael Slugocki, president of the Arizona Students Association.

    Several members of ASA, the Associated Students of the University of Arizona and a large pool of concerned students and staff are expected to fill the South Ballroom tonight in an attempt to send a message to the board and the state that the $1,100 rise in tuition proposed by President Robert Shelton will only hurt the university system and its students, Slugocki said.

    Raising tuition will set off a cycle in which students who are already thousands of dollars in debt will have no other choice than to dip into debt once more, he added.

    “”Those students are going to have to take yet another loan out,”” Slugocki said. “”This is the wrong time to make students pay even more.””

    Student government officials are encouraging all students to speak out in a show of solidarity tonight during the two-hour public feedback portion of the hearing.

    “”We’ll have heavy student involvement,”” ASUA president-elect Chris Nagata said. “”There are people who are angry and want to speak out against heightened tuition.””

    The mid-year tuition increases are made even more complex because of the unpredictability associated with available money from the state. The state’s budget crisis has caused the Arizona legislature to drastically cut higher education spending. In addition, the uncertainty surrounding how much money, if any, Gov. Jan Brewer will give to Arizona’s public universities makes setting tuition a tricky responsibility, Nagata said.

    “”This is an unforeseen increase,”” he said. “”No one expected a mid-year tuition increase.””

    Although the short notice of the hearing makes it difficult for ASA and ASUA to properly mobilize and inform students of the public forum meeting, the student government believes that when push comes to shove, students will show up when their future is on the line, said Tommy Bruce, president of ASUA.

    “”We’re going to do what we can,”” Bruce said.

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