Bill deadline has regents voting rewrite

By Charles Ratliff
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 19, 1996

Arizona Daily Wildcat

"We can either solve the problem or have the problem solved for us, and we may not like the answer." - Regent Donald Urlich


Arizona's three public universities stand to lose an $11.6 million budget increase if they fail to come up with a plan for transferring community college credit.

Tony Seese-Bieda, assistant executive director to the regents, told the board at Thursday's meeting at ASU West that this penalty, outlined in a footnote attached to the bill, would be imposed if an articulation plan was not adopted by Sept. 30.

He also said it would be impossible to come up with a plan by then because there would only be three months of actual work time since most college and university educators take the summer months off.

The regents, who were asked to take stances on several education bills making their way through the state Legislature, voted unanimously to ask legislators to rewrite the footnote to remove the imposed deadline and to require lawmakers to further study the issue.

The articulation plan would allow greater communication in how students' credit transferred from community college to university programs, how they would be applied - whether for major credit or undergraduate lower-division credit - and whether the students would be able to transfer all or a portion of earned credit.

Regent John Munger said legislators are acting on information obtained from constituents as much as two years ago. That information, he said, is outdated and communication between schools has improved.

Munger motioned that the board ask legislators to rewrite the footnote to say lawmakers must study the problem and remove, or at least extend, the deadline.

"The regents have studied this problem and it is our opinion that the articulation system works very well," he said.

Regent Art Chapa said this is an issue that regents would not ignore. He said the board, the universities and the community colleges have been working on this problem.

"We have seen this incoming missile for months now," Chapa said.

The two major urban community college systems, Maricopa and Pima, are not having a problem with the articulation, Chapa said. The problem has occurred at the rural level and he said he agreed with Munger that legislators are only now reacting to information given them by rural constituents a year or more ago.

New Regent Donald Urlich said this is a complex issue and was hard to understand, but one that needs immediate attention.

"We can either solve the problem or have the problem solved for us, and we may not like the answer," he said.

Regent Hank Amos said he thought the board was not doing a good enough job of communicating with legislators.

"Unless we do something to improve the communication, the board will continue to face these types of bills year after year," he said.

The regents' March meeting will be in the Student Union's Arizona Ballroom.