Bill penalizing 'hobby students' killed

By Anne McBride
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 16, 1996

PHOENIX - By a vote of 0-7, legislators killed a bill yesterday that would have penalized students for enrolling in too many college courses.

The bill, which would have charged Arizona students out-of-state tuition for enrolling in 32 hours more than their majors required, was introduced by Jean McGrath, R-Glendale.

She told the Committee on Public Institutions and Universities that legislators have many opportunities to spend, but few opportunities to save money. She said the bill would relieve taxpayers from having to support "hobby" students, as tuition pays only a small portion of the cost of attending a state university.

Rep. Tom Smith, R-Phoenix, asked if teachers, who are required to take an additional 45 hours in continuing education in order to receive a pay raise, would be required to pay out-of-state tuition to reach this goal.

McGrath said she would be willing to accept an amendment to the bill exempting teachers, but yes, as the bill read, they would be required to pay the higher tuition.

Marion Pickens, D-Tucson, said she was voting against the bill for her daughter, who, as a single mother, returned to college to get a second degree in engineering after she was unable to support her family adequately with a psychology degree.

Thomas Wickenden of the Arizona Board of Regents said a report issued in August found that approximately 5 percent of seniors in the three universities enrolled in 32 hours over their major requirements. Of this, about 100 students were found to be indecisive, or so-called "hobby" students. The board decided it was unfair to penalize all students, he said, but instead chose to concentrate on improving the university's delivery of courses.