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Tuition fees not covered by waivers


By Natasha Bhuyan
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, February 18, 2005
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Students who receive a tuition waiver from the UA will still have to pay program fees if President Peter Likins' tuition proposal, which includes an 11.4 percent total increase of resident undergraduate tuition in addition to eight program fees, is approved in March.

Jerry Hogle, vice provost of instruction, said the program fees, also known as differential tuition surcharges, in Likins' proposal are separate from tuition. As a result, students would be required to pay those fees even if they do not have to pay tuition.

Eight program fees are included in Likins' tuition proposal, which also includes total tuition increases of $464 for resident undergraduates, $564 for non-resident undergraduates and $664 for graduate students.

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John Nametz, director of the Office of Student Financial Aid, said students who receive merit-based tuition waivers, such as those who were in the top 2 percent of their high school class, would not be protected from the program fees through central administration.

However, the individual colleges who charge program fees have the option of offering scholarships to students in order to compensate for the fees, Nametz said.

Fifteen percent of each program fee will be a financial aid set-aside required by the state, while 10 percent will go back to central administration and 75 percent will be controlled by the college that charged the fee.

Tom Peterson, dean of the College of Engineering, said it is yet to be determined if the College of Engineering will compensate the $300 proposed fee for students who have tuition waivers.

Susan Moody, assistant dean in the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, said the college already provides about 25 students with $40,000 in scholarships, which they receive from donors.

Although the college, which has 200 students and 135 pre-professional students, will continue to seek donors for scholarships, Moody said she does not know if there will be enough revenue to protect students with merit-based tuition waivers from paying the proposed program fees.

"We are always trying to raise money to help the students. We are not going to stop doing that," Moody said. "The fee will get applied in a way that helps the neediest people the most."

Despite past efforts to compensate students with tuition waivers, administrators said it was not feasible and will not likely happen again this year.

Two years ago, after a $500 fee was approved in the Eller College of Management, Mark Zupan, the Eller dean at the time, said private sources would fund 80 $500 scholarships for needy students.

In addition, Zupan pledged the business college would protect students who receive tuition waivers based on merit.

However, since then, the Eller College of Management realized it was not financially viable to waive program fees for students who received tuition waivers and needy students because they make up 30 percent of business students, said Stan Reynolds, vice dean of the Eller College of Management.

Instead, the college gives out a few, privately funded scholarships based on need and performance at the undergraduate level, Reynolds said.

Pam Perry, associate dean of the Eller College, said the top 4 percent of business students receive scholarships, which funds the program fee.

Perry said the promise to compensate all students with a tuition waiver was made before Eller had data on students. Afterward, the college learned compensating all such students would be too much foregone revenue.

Still, since the program fee was introduced into the business college, Reynolds said there has been more input from students on how the money will be spent, which he said is a welcoming change.

"Students are more assertive about their education and what they're getting out of it," Reynolds said.

Zack Stephens, a computer engineering sophomore, said since he already has to pay special course fees for his engineering classes, he does not think there should be an additional program fee.

Daniel Studer, an aerospace and mechanical engineering junior who has a merit-based tuition waiver, said although he is not thrilled about paying a program fee, he understands if the college will not be able to compensate students due to its budget crunch.

"I would rather pay the fee than see the department suffer," said Studer, who is an engineering ambassador. "I have to be realistic - the fee doesn't do any good if they have to pay the fee back (to students) anyways."



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