By Keren G. Raz
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday January 24, 2003
Jack Jewett can't stop talking about the number 14.
It's been the centerpiece of his campaign to make Arizona universities affordable for low-income students.
If tuition is not increased, it will be difficult for the universities to sustain operations.
ö Tom Wickendon
associate executive director
academic and student affairs
Now it's also his jersey number.
Thanks to a gift from ASU President Michael Crow, Jewett, the Arizona Board of Regents' president, now has an ASU football jersey with the number 14.
Crow presented Jewett with the jersey yesterday morning during a press conference with student journalists in one of the conference rooms in the Student Union Memorial Center.
Jewett has pushed the Regents since November to require that the universities set aside 14 percent of tuition revenue for financial aid, rather than the 8 percent currently used for that purpose.
If tuition were increased by $1,000, a 14 percent set-aside could more than triple the amount of funds currently available for financial aid, according to regents' calculations.
Funds would jump from $2 million to $7.3 million.
Some regents and the university presidents say that this dramatic increase is necessary given the small amount of state-funded financial aid.
"One (funding) stream that stands out because it's a dry bed is the state (funding) because it doesn't exist," Jewett said at the press conference.
The state only funds 0.2 percent of financial aid or $1.5 million.
The regents also asked for additional policy changes that would give universities the flexibility to set aside even more than 14 percent of tuition for financial aid.
This flexibility will be important for the UA. The UA's financial aid will be more than 14 percent when all the financial aid for undergraduates and graduates is added up, said Provost George Davis.
At the November meeting President Pete Likins presented a scenario for a tuition and financial aid increase that would raise resident undergraduate tuition by $1,000 and reduce total unmet need by $1,000.
Unmet need was defined yesterday at the ABOR meeting as the amount left over after subsidized financial aid has been awarded.
This scenario would require more than 14 percent of the tuition revenue, said John Nametz, director of student financial aid.
Now, adding to the total financial aid required to support students, administrators want a 50 percent graduate assistant tuition waiver, Davis said. GAs currently only have a 25 percent tuition waiver.
However, Tom Wickendon, ABOR associate executive director for academic and student affairs, cautioned that any plans to increase financial aid would require a tuition increase.
"If tuition is not increased, it will be difficult for the universities to sustain operations," he said.
The regents have said they would support a substantial tuition hike, but they are waiting to hear proposals from the presidents and the students.
Although the three university presidents haven't released their
proposals yet, they said yesterday at the press conference that they would all request the same tuition increase for resident undergraduates.
"There are no plans for differentiating undergraduate in-state tuition," Crow said.
But Likins said that graduate students might have to pay different prices for tuition depending on how much their program costs to sustain.
Tomorrow the board is expected to approve a change in policy that will allow universities and colleges within universities to differentiate their tuition.