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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Proposal calls for accountability

    The Arizona Students’ Association offered its tuition proposal to the Arizona Board of Regents on Friday, calling for universities to be held accountable for their spending and allowing students to choose how some of the funds are allocated in the upcoming school year.

    “”One of the big points we’re trying to say is students really deserve to have a voice at where their tuition dollars are being spent. Right now we’re putting all this money into it and we’re paying all these increases in tuition, and right now we have no say where that money is being spent or even really have any idea of where that money is being spent … toward student priorities,”” said ASA board chair Michael Slugocki.

    “”It (has) two parts. The first is actually giving students the opportunity to have students determine the priorities that tuition dollars are spent on. So what we’ve actually proposed in our tuition proposal is that 9 percent – which is the five-year rolling average of tuition increases in the state of Arizona – of total revenue of each university goes into student-determined priorities,”” said Associated Students of the University of Arizona president and ASA member Tommy Bruce.

    Bruce said the process would be run through ASUA, which would conduct student tuition surveys on a yearly basis.

    “”And within that survey we would give (students) the opportunity to distinguish exactly what their priorities are, and then specifics within that priority.””

    Bruce said an example would be if advising is a top three priority, it may then lead to more money allocated for advising or hiring more advisers, “”so we could have more accessibility to our advisers as students.””

    The proposal also calls for “”a predictable increase.””

    Under the proposal, all current students would receive a cost of living increase to tuition, which the regents currently calculate as 3 percent, Bruce added.

    “”So anybody that currently goes to UA … would get a 3 percent increase,”” Bruce said. The proposal does not define what the rate would be for incoming students, but will be decided on the terms of affordability. The 3 percent increase will also apply for out-of-state students.

    Slugocki said despite the increase to tuition, it is difficult to equate a rise in the quality of services that would correlate with the amount students pay.

    “”But I think the areas of what we’re trying to say is: ‘When I’m paying this extra 13 percent, 10 percent every year for college, I shouldn’t have these problems anymore.

    “”If I’m paying this extra money for school, it should be spent on areas that we are facing right now: Why am I still having trouble … finding a class this semester? Why am I having trouble finding classes that I am interested in within my major? Why is the adviser so hard to get a hold of, or I have to wait a week to be able to talk to them? If tuition is increasing, shouldn’t these services go up?””

    Another concern facing students across the nation is, with the porous economy combined with rising tuition costs, is a college education becoming too pricy?

    “”That potential is absolutely out there. … When you look at such drastic increases and you look at them year after year, it is inevitable that students will be priced out of their education; and if they’re current students they might not return, and if they’re prospective students they might choose not to come,”” Bruce said.

    While Bruce said in-state tuition costs between the three Arizona universities are fairly even, out-of-state tuition is a different story. “”It will be very interesting to see what happens in the event that the university proposal gets passed. UA has always been deemed as such a high value, and if we continue increases like this, we may lose that value-added edge that we had as such an affordable institution.””

    Slugocki added while statistics point to individuals earning more over a lifetime with a college degree than those without one, “”I think we may be approaching … an apex where students can no longer afford these tuition increases, and it really doesn’t become affordable for them to take out those massive loans to get their college degree.””

    Although certain people see it as an investment, Slugocki said some students may not be able to go into a lower-paying job that they are more passionate about due to their financial burden.

    “”Some people would rather get into a job directly then and not even worry about going into college, and I think that’s a real travesty.””

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