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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Shelton, student groups unite to stymie tuition concerns”

    Shelton, student groups unite to stymie tuition concerns

    After the furor leading up to the Arizona Board of Regents passing of a 9.8 percent tuition increase, student leaders are now working with the UA administration to lessen the future burden tuition increases could have on students.

    On Dec. 6, ABOR approved tuition increases for all three Arizona universities. For the 2008-2009 school year, tuition for UA undergraduate resident students will increase by $450 to $5,274. Tuition for out-of-state undergraduate students will increase by $2,350 to $18,408.

    Tuition for resident graduate students will also increase by $520 and $2,350 for non-resident graduate students.

    The regents also approved an $80 annual student services fee, which will be phased in over two years, starting with a $40 fee for the 2008-2009 school year.

    The fee will help fund student-support programs such as campus safety and health and counseling services.

    “”It sucks,”” philosophy sophomore Tyler Quillin said of the tuition hikes. “”I mean at least my parents pay for it, but I don’t even think they know about it yet.””

    Jamal Alafifi, a microbiology junior, said he was unaware of exactly how much the tuition increases were.

    “”I honestly didn’t know it was that dramatic of an increase,”” he said. “”I remember when everyone was protesting it. I’m gonna try to look for a job now, to help pay the extra expenses.””

    The Arizona Students Association, Shelton, and ABOR said they haven’t received any angry e-mails or hate mail about the tuition increase since the decision was made.

    Most of the reaction came in the days leading up to Dec. 6, and during the discussion at that meeting, Shelton said.

    “”There has been a minimized reaction,”” said David Martinez III, the non-voting UA student regent. “”There definitely was a public influx of letters and e-mails from students and their parents before the vote was set, but ever since it’s been more of a relaxed reaction.””

    More people are starting to accept that Arizona’s economic crisis is affecting the amount of funding universities get, Martinez said, adding that state investment in education should always be a top priority.

    In her

    Predictability is highly desired, and I will be working closely with Tommy Bruce to ensure that future tuition changes keep the needs of students in mind.

    -Robert Shelton, president

    State of the State address Monday, Gov. Janet Napolitano pushed for more predictability in university tuition, suggesting a plan similar to the blocked tuition proposals passed at Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University.

    This semester, Shelton will plan for future tuition guidelines focused on improving ways to set tuition, with an emphasis on establishing predictability.

    The ASU model, featuring a 5 percent cap on tuition increases, will also be discussed, Shelton said.

    Shelton said he will meet with Tommy Bruce, president of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, and Catherine Neish, president of the Graduate and Professional Student Council, to work out some tuition guidelines and to hear more about how to help students.

    In addition, ABOR is putting together a tuition task force made of students, regents and members of university administrations, Bruce said. Its goal is to foster better understanding of issues including tuition predictability, affordability and accessibility.

    Whether the state can contribute funds to accommodate the development of predictability is a primary concern, Shelton said.

    “”Predictability is highly desired, and I will be working closely with Tommy Bruce to ensure that future tuition changes keep the needs of students in mind,”” he said.

    The task force reflects the extent to which the regents heeded students’ concerns over fast inflating tuition costs, Bruce said.

    “”It was an uphill battle,”” Bruce said. “”We did everything we possibly could, and now they know that tuition is at the forefront of our issues.””

    A proposal also approved Dec. 6 may help offset many students’ augmented struggles to attend state universities.

    It states that 15 percent of tuition dollars will go into the financial aid pool, which translates into more money for students to take, Martinez said.

    All students should take advantage of the extra money, Shelton said.

    “”Don’t just assume you can’t get help,”” Shelton said. “”Any time a financial situation changes, it’s important for students to talk with a financial aid counselor, talk with their parents, and make sure they are taking advantage of all the resources at the UA.””

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