By Stephanie Schwartz
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday April 10, 2003
When Eller College of Business administrators first approached students to tell them about a new proposal that, if passed, would tack on a $500 per year fee to their already increasing tuition, many students opposed the idea.
After explaining that the fee would help improve the school's No. 22 national ranking, however, most of them changed their minds.
We're a well recognized first-tier business school. It's still a good deal.
"A lot of students were against it when they first heard about it," said Kristen Senseman, a marketing sophomore and member of the Eller College student council. "Once students understood the need (for the fee), they supported it."
If the program fee is passed by the board of regents later this month, UA business students will pay $250 more than other undergraduates for tuition each semester and $60 more per course for pre-session, summer sessions and winter-session.
The program fee will help improve the overall quality of UA's business program and is essential to keep the Eller College among the top business schools in the country, said Mark Zupan, dean of the Eller College of Business and Public Administration.
"We'd like to keep improving the quality of the program," Zupan said. "Right now we're No. 22 for undergraduates business programs, we're aspiring to be within the top five programs at public universities."
Initially, the business college would devote the program fee to retaining faculty members and attracting new faculty members, Zupan said.
Paying the additional $250 for tuition is worth it if it means more professors, said marketing sophomore Anna Suarez.
"I know that right now the business school is short on professors and can see that becoming a huge problem," Suarez said. "There are not enough professors to teach the classes."
The cost of faculty has risen more dramatically in business schools than in any other college, said Stephen Gilliland, vice dean of the Eller College of Business and Administration. Salaries are rising from 7 to 11 percent per year for business schools and only 2 percent of that money comes from the state, he said.
"We are losing faculty, and our peer business schools have much larger budgets," said Stephen Gilliland, vice dean of the Eller College of Business and Public Administration. "Differential tuition is really essential to us to find financial resources we need to be a top business school."
"We have to find other means for supporting our faculty," Gilliland said.
The business college also hopes to replace up to 15 computers in their computer lab and improve other student services, Gilliland said.
In the future, the fee would help enhance placement services for the college, provide better communication training for students and elect a student advisory committee to give their input to faculty members, he added.
Although no organized opposition has been displayed, some business students voiced concerns that the increase in financial aid proposed by the college may deter some students, Zupan said.
If passed, 15 percent of the program fee would be set aside for need-based scholarships. Ten percent more scholarships from prime sectors would also become available, an amount that would help at least 80 students who will be entering advanced standing, Zupan said.
If the proposal is passed, resident business students in the fall will pay $4,094, and non-resident business students will pay $12,864. The tuition increases also result from the regents' approval last month of a $1,000 across the board tuition increase for resident students and a $1,250 increase for non-resident students.
Even with the increases, tuition for UA's business school would still fall below UA's peer top 20 business schools.
"The tuition is so cheap as it is," Senseman said. "The quality of education that you're getting at the business school is worth it."
"It sucks, but it's really insignificant to the fact that I'm already paying out-of-state tuition," said Pearce Tucker, a business management sophomore. "The $250 increase isn't a big deal."
Marketing senior Bruce Bridges agreed.
"We're a well recognized first-tier business school," he said. "It's still a good deal."
UA business administrators worked with the business student council and faculty members for the past seven months to come up with the proposal for the fee.
The fee would not be applied to students who have already received advanced standing as of this year, or freshman and sophomore business students who have not yet applied or attained advanced standing status.