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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Regents OK 2012-13 tuition freeze

Tuition for resident undergraduates will not increase for the first time since 1991, as decided in a unanimous vote by the Arizona Board of Regents on Thursday.

The regents have increased tuition for resident undergraduate students by more than 20 percent each of the last three years. During its meeting on Thursday, however, the board chose to keep tuition and mandatory fees for resident undergraduate students steady at $10,035. This applies to both incoming and continuing students.

Every other segment of the student body saw about a 3 percent increase, with nonresident undergraduate tuition rising to $26,231, resident graduate tuition to $11,122, and nonresident graduate tuition rising to $26,533.

Many regents praised the proposal for keeping tuition as level as possible, especially in the face of continuing uncertainty over the state budget. Regent Rick Myers said that, with proper funding, the Arizona University System might be able to help lower costs even more for students.

“I would love it if someday we can have a meeting where we’re actually reducing tuition because we’re able to get the support we need,” Myers said. “Zero is good, but a negative number is even better if we can get the kind of support we need across the board.”

Regent Mark Killian said that he hopes that Arizona’s universities would one day be the cheapest in the nation and provide the highest quality. He said the state Legislature needs to have the same goal.

“That’s what we need to stress to our Legislature. We need to be the epicenter of education in America,” he said.

Killian also said the Legislature needs to understand that there is a “public interest in investing in public education.”

“I’d rather be paying for tuition than welfare checks,” he said.

Though the tuition rate for resident undergraduates will not rise, the amount of tuition still might. Last year, the board approved a $750 rebate for students to help offset the $1,500 total tuition increase. That rebate will expire this year.

UA President Eugene Sander said he did not know how much financial aid might offset this additional $750, but confirmed that this, like all tuition dollars, is subject to the regent-mandated financial aid set-aside of 17 percent.

“You do the math,” Sander said. “It’s a fair amount of money.”

While this year’s tuition is set, some regents were already looking ahead. Regent Dennis DeConcini asked the three university presidents if they could generally project what tuition proposals might look like next year.

Sander said it’s difficult to “look into that crystal ball,” particularly because the state budget is in flux due to the expiration of the Proposition 100 sales tax and potential new costs from the federal health care law.

“One of the reasons I really, really wanted to hold the line this year was that, with those uncertainties, we may not be able to in the future,” he said.

Regents approve new leadership

The board unanimously voted to appoint Regent Rick Myers as chairman. Myers has served on the board since January 2010 and is the chairman of the Academic Affairs and System Architecture Committee. He is also a member of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council.

Mark Killian, who also joined the board in January 2010, will serve another term as board treasurer. LuAnn Leonard, who has sat on the board since 2008, will be vice chair. She is the current vice chair but is also serving as the board secretary. Next year’s secretary will be Dennis DeConcini, a former U.S. senator who has sat on the board since 2006.

All officers will officially assume their positions on July 1, the start of the next fiscal year.

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