UA President Peter Likins has stated his plan to raise tuition for all UA students. The proposal would increase in-state tuition by $200 per year and out-of-state tuition by $500 per year.
Some may believe that a tuition increase flies in the face of the state's commitment to low-cost higher education. Others believe it is a realistic necessity to continue investing in UA research and development.
Tonight, the Arizona Daily Wildcat is hosting a forum to discuss the new policy. The forum will be held at 7:00 in Harvill 151.
Given the divisiveness of this issue, it is bound to be a heated debate.
Forget "Friends" Thursday night
According to my calculations, UA President Peter Likins' tuition hike should bring the UA about $10 million.
Holy smokes! This is a ton of dough. The problem with Likins' proposed tuition boost is not that it has to happen, but rather where in the world is all that money going to go?
I think I can speak for about 98.9 percent of the paying student body when recommending where we do not want our money to go. Under no circumstances do I want my money to fall into that huge, ugly pit right outside the main library.
On that note, nor do I want my money to facilitate the construction of another floor to the library. It had better not buy a steel beam to build another addition to the colossal student union or be used to dig up another bike lane. The athletes do not need another locker room.
If President Likins gets his proposed tuition increase, he said he will pump the money into information technology, enhancing student advising, TA support, financial aid and debt service. Or will he?
This sounds a little fishy to me, how about you?
Improving student advising, how? Information technology, what? Whose financial aid? What the hell is the debt service? How much money is considered TA support?
Fellow students, Thursday night is our chance to improve the campus the way we want it done. We must show up.
University must be merciful
UA President Peter Likins is a man in a very difficult position. Our university needs millions of dollars, students need to keep tuition low and, at the same time, we need impressive buildings and services to attract future donors and students.
While a tuition hike might be the easiest solution, it does not necessarily mean it is the best. Students at the university are at the mercy of the bursar's office. They cannot say no to their billing statements, unlike regents and donors, who can say no to the university's request.
Two hundred dollars might seem like an insignificant amount on paper, but when you think about the students that are working to put themselves through school, that amount becomes a real burden. Consider that a student who works at a minimum wage job would have to work an additional 38 hours to cover his tuition and you see that the real cost to students is in terms of their precious time and labor.
This proposed tuition hike only further illustrates how the increasing cost of college is making life without student loans nearly impossible. The university wants this tuition hike because our state government will not give them any more money.
Every student at this university realizes that a tuition increase is inevitable. ASA and students themselves, however, must remind the university to be merciful in their financial decisions, for it is on the backs of students that the price of "progress" is paid.
-Lora J. Mackel
Higher tuition? What gives?
Is higher education "as nearly free as possible," as mandated by the Arizona Constitution? Granted, our state's university system is one of the best values for your education dollar in the nation. Tuition for in-state students here and at ASU is still among the most affordable in the nation.
That people are recognizing the value of education offered by the Arizona universities is evident by the ever expanding enrollment, increase in endowments and the improvement in overall academic prestige, which are allowing the universities to attract higher-quality faculty and students.
Yes, the overall value of an education in all of the Arizona state schools has improved over the last 10 years. But it seems like administrators keep using that as a way to stick it to students. Shouldn't students reap the benefits of increased donations resulting from the NCAA championship? And what about the new and largely successful fundraising programs, coined Campaign Arizona?
When I was at ASU, the school had just begun a massive effort to raise endowment by $300 million. Three years later, tuition was still going up.
The administration (and coach Olson) has done a wonderful job keeping money from the alumni flowing in. Please keep up the good work and leave us to our studies. We can make you much happier after we graduate.
If you charge them, they will come
Students don't come to this university just because it's cheap, they also come because the education they receive is of high quality. Some students may be angry at President Likins' proposal to raise tuition, but they shouldn't be. He is acting in the best interest of this university, this town and this state.
If our university is to continue growing in size and stature, we need more money. If we want to keep high-quality professors in the classrooms, we will have to compete with schools that can pay more.
ASA believes the only way to keep higher education accessible is through low tuition. I see it a bit differently. The only way to consider the education we receive as "higher" is to raise the tuition.
Arizona is unique because we have the right to an education which is as close to a free as possible, as stated in the state constitution. In-state as well as out-of-state students take advantage of this privilege every year.
The reason our university is cheap is because it is funded by state taxes. Our university is not obligated to give a cheap education to students from Florida and Virginia.
Likins' proposal asks for a mere $500 increase in out-of-state education. Let's make it $1,000 or even $2,000.
They'll still come. Hey, the real reason people come here is the weather.
Choosing Our Battles
Financial issues are always sticky. Students know this through dealing with roommates. Every time the first of the month comes around, rent and utilities become a taboo topic, one of mystery and intrigue. The mystery being: How will I pay the bills THIS month? For my roommates it's simple - it's just a matter of figuring out how many times they need to donate plasma.
So when Likins tells us he needs to raise our tuition, the instinctual response is, "What?! I don't have $200/$500 more! I simply don't have that much plasma!" But there is a problem in this thinking, and the problem is this: Students have been whining about three things since the beginning of time - we demand improvements in advising, TA salaries and financial-aid availability.
Likins is one step ahead of us, for he says these are the programs for which we need to raise tuition.
"Darn!" we say. "He's got us trapped!"
Indeed, our options have been limited.
Tonight at the forum, we can argue that the UA should remain one of the lowest-tuition universities by rebudgeting to improve advising, TA salaries and financial aid. But it'll be hard to prove that Likins is looking to spend the money frivolously.