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By Jennifer M. Fitzenberger and Edina A.T. Strum
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 24, 1997

Regents to set tuition and hall rates today

The Arizona Board of Regents will put many minds to rest today when it sets tuition and residence hall rates for the 1997-98 academic year and decides the fate of the proposed Integrated Instructional Facility.

Students and parents favored no tuition increase and opposed University of Arizona President Manuel Pacheco's proposed 5 percent increase at a multi-site tuition hearing April 17.

Although the Arizona Constitution states that an education should be "as nearly free as possible," Pacheco said a tuition increase is necessary to meet fiscal responsibilities and to make up for a drop in enrollment in recent years.

"The outcome of appropriations is better than past years, but it is still not enough," Pacheco said at the hearing. "The University of Arizona has needs beyond that request that must be met in some way."

Tuition this year for UA students was $1,940 for residents and $8,308 for non-residents. A 5 percent raise would increase tuition by $98 for residents and $416 for non-residents annually.

This would mean an additional $4.4 million to put toward UA priorities such as the libraries and undergraduate education.

"I am in support of the student body presidents' recommendation," said Student Regent Jonathan Schmitt. "But I also understand the dilemma the administration is in - we lost $2.4 million the past few years because of enrollment decreases."

Student body presidents at the three state universities are asking for no tuition increase, based on a $47 million funding raise this year from the state Legislature. The universities received a total of $681.6 million from the state this year.

The presidents of Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University have requested a 3 percent tuition hike.

Jim Van Arsdel, director of Residence Life, said the UA also has requested that residence hall rates, which will be set along with tuition, be raised 3.5 percent.

This would mean that new rates would range from $1,791 to $2,762 for the halls.

Chris Christensen, president of the Residence Hall Association, said the increase is due to inflation and the continuation of programs and services.

The regents will also take action on the proposed IIF, a first-year student facility, which is on the regents' agenda for project approval.

If the regents approve the facility, the Joint Committee on Capital Resources will review the multi-year bonding proposal that must be approved to fund the $20.25 million structure to be built under the UA Mall.

"At the last meeting we indicated a consensus for approval on the IIF," Regent Judy Gignac said. "I plan to vote yes."

She said the facility has her support because it is an integral part of the UA's commitment to improving undergraduate education.

"It will be important to discuss the project on its merits," said Schmitt, a UA agriculture and resource economics senior, who has spoken out against the proposed facility.

The IIF is designed to provide an academic and intellectual base for freshmen students, according to the project justification presented to the regents.

The agenda includes further consideration of a pilot system-wide review of low-productivity academic programs.

At the board's March meeting, Regent Hank Amos raised concerns over considering degrees offered at the state's main and branch campuses as one degree.

"I'm concerned that the public will think that we are avoiding the issue of duplicative programs by means of a technicality," Amos said in a letter to the board.

The study defined low-productivity programs as those that have awarded fewer than 24 bachelor's degrees, nine master's degrees or six doctoral degrees in the last three years.

However, Gignac said the study's purpose is not to eliminate every program below a certain threshold or that duplicates at another campus.

"We want the universities to think more about collaboration and partnership," she said.

The Arizona International Campus of the UA will also submit its second-year curriculum for the regents' approval tomorrow, during the last day of the board's two-day meeting at ASU's East campus in Mesa.

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