By Wildcat Opinions Board
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday Apr. 9, 2002
Student Body President Ray Quintero took the Mall stage yesterday just after noon to announce the official student lobbyist stance on next year's tuition - a zero-percent tuition hike. Although ASA has decided to play hardball with UA President Likins' proposed 12 percent in-state tuition hike, ASA had better realize it needs to be prepared for what it would define as "the worst."
In other words, like it or not, a tuition hike is a real and inevitable conclusion to help offset state-mandated budget cuts.
It is reasonable for a student group to lobby against a tuition hike. The Arizona Students' Association especially feels that until the state can get its act together and undo the budget crisis, state universities should not be held accountable for statewide deficits. And ASA is doing its job.
But the reality of the situation is that groups like ASA had better be prepared. A zero-percent hike is so idealistic that it's ludicrous. Likins has insisted that he will match tuition hikes with tuition waivers and financial aid so that even the poorest students will still be able to attend the University of Arizona. In fact, raising tuition could increase accessibility to financial aid for those students that need it most.
To the average student, ASA's endorsement of a zero-percent tuition increase is heroic and noble. Unfortunately, this "noble" move is unrealistic, and ASA had better be prepared to take out its big guns when the matter finally comes to a head at the Arizona Board of Regents meeting April 25-26 at Northern Arizona University.
Don't want to pay more for this "should be as free as possible" education? Fine. Then expect more cuts on teachers and classes. Campus departments will feel the blow as well.
Fellow students, let's view the ASA-supported, zero-percent tuition hike as what it is - a predictable student proposal to the Board of Regents. Though university students may be sick and tired of dishing out bucks, it's the reality of the situation to hike tuition.
Expect to pay more. You should want to pay more. We at the UA already get more bang for the buck than most of the nation's universities. Keeping UA's tuition the same won't even remotely bandage the festering sore that is the state budget crisis. So lobby away, ASA. A significant tuition hike from previous years is inevitable, zero-percent proposal or not.