Ed. Comm. passes tuition-payment bill

By Ann McBride
Arizona Daily Wildcat
February 19, 1996

PHOENIX - A bill that would allow students to have their entire college tuition paid for before they even set foot on an Arizona campus passed the House Committee on Education unanimously Wednesday.

House Bill 2270 would give families an opportunity to begin a savings account, exempt from federal taxes, that would cover the cost of college tuition and tuition inflation.

A contract would be drawn from five to 18 years that would invest in either a two-year community college, a four-year university package or a combination of the two, said Paul Allvin, executive director of Arizona Students' Association, the bill's main supporter.

While there was widespread support for the bill, an amendment proposed by Dan Schottel, R-Tucson, was defeated.

The amendment would have relieved the state from any responsibility of "guaranteeing" the contracts would cover the cost of tuition when the contract matured. Legislators argued that this would defeat the program's original purpose.

Allvin said he had been told the amendment was necessary for the bill to pass out of the Rules Committee. He said it was a technical amendment that other states have adopted for additional security. He stressed that the 17 states with prepayment funds have had no problem covering the cost of tuition inflation through investing.

Schottel said that even though the amendment failed in committee, it will be added on, if necessary, during House floor debate.

Under this program, the state would contract with an investment company that would work to ensure the fund's rate of return exceeds tuition inflation. One bank would be chosen to administer the all the contracts and accept payments on behalf of the state.

The money would be 100 percent refundable if the child decides not to attend an Arizona university, Allvin said.