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Regents to set 1999 tuition this week

By Anthony C. Braza
Arizona Daily Wildcat
November 19, 1998
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If the university is to remain competitive, the Arizona Board of Regents should raise tuition and evaluate faculty pay at its meeting today and tomorrow, UA President Peter Likins said.

University of Arizona resident tuition increased between 2.4 percent and 3 percent each year from 1994 to 1997, before being increased 4.9 percent this year. Likins and the two other state university presidents have proposed a $100 resident and $300 out-of-state student tuition increase for 1999 - 4.9 percent and 3.6 percent bumps he said would minimize cuts.

"Each year from 1991 until spring 1998, the provost went through the agonizing process of telling the deans they had to cut their budgets, inflicting pain, because spendable dollars were going down," Likins said. "Without the increase there would be cuts - with budgets and personnel."

The regents, which will meet at Arizona State University in Tempe, held a tuition hearing Nov. 5 to gather student and parent feedback.

The Arizona Student Association, a lobbying group, recommended a 2.8 percent increase - the 1.8 percent inflation rate plus 1 percent for growth.

Associated Students President Tara Taylor, who said the ASA will reiterate its 2.8 percent increase recommendation at the meeting, added that she would settle for a compromise.

"The argument of the university presidents will be stronger because they are all coming in the same, which usually doesn't happen," Taylor said. "I am hoping for a compromise between 2.8 (percent) and 4.8 percent."

Likins could not specify how the proposed increase would be used at the UA.

"We don't segment it out to say it will be used for these particular purposes," Likins said.

The Arizona university system's resident tuition of $2,158 ranks 50th in the nation among comparable institutions.

Regent Rudy Campbell said he does not know how other regents will vote on the increase, but he does not think resident tuition should be so low.

"I don't like to be at the bottom - it is a disgrace a system as good as ours is that low," Campbell said. "You will get what you pay for."

Likins also said he does not think Arizona tuition should be quite so low.

"I would grow the tuition over a five-to-10 year time period to meet the market until it was one-third or one-fourth from the bottom (of the national ranking)," Likins said.

UA tuition would have to increase more than $600 to be 25 percent from the bottom, where University of Oklahoma resides with its resident tuition at $2,779.

The state of Arizona spent $9,550 to educate each student that attended the UA in 1998. Resident tuition rates cover 25 percent of that cost, a statistic Likins said students forget.

"It is a bargain at five or six or even $8,000 a year," Likins said. "The value that is received is vastly greater than someone would expect to acquire for that."

The regents also will be reviewing and adopting a plan to adjust faculty pay the next few years. UA officials are concerned they have lost professors to other institutions that can offer higher wages.

By having below-market wages, new teachers who tend to base employment on financial aspects and tenured professors who have created a name for themselves are harder to attract, Likins said.

"We are concerned we cannot compete for people at the highest and lowest levels," Likins said.

Campbell said the regents have legislative support for increasing faculty pay, but have not come to a consensus figure.

"The Legislature is in general agreement that they need to be improved, but they didn't approve anything yet," Campbell said. "The presidents will be presenting to us their proposal."

Also on the board's agenda:

The UA will ask the regents to approve the appointment of Janet Bingham to vice president for advancement.

The board will analyze how the first year of a post-tenure review process has worked.

The UA will request permission to change the name of the UA College of Law to the James E. Rogers College of Law. Rogers has donated $50 million to the UA Law School, to be paid over the next 20 years.

Anthony C. Braza can be reached via e-mail at Anthony.C.Braza@wildcat.arizona.edu.