By Wildcat Opinions Board
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday Januay 29, 2003
You get what you pay for. Unfortunately, at the UA we don't pay much. Until regents, administrators, lawmakers and, in particular, student lobbyists get together and cry "Let's raise tuition," the quality of education and number of resources at the UA will continue to be less than spectacular.
A few thousand dollars is not sufficient to cover the costs of a decent in-state or out-of-state education. Administrators will argue that this is a product of years of state cuts to Arizona universities. While those cuts have certainly affected the
university, the UA's lack of dough is about more than just state cuts.
Tuition is altogether too cheap, and does not even come close to covering the cost of attending the UA.
Tuition is altogether too cheap, and does not even come close to covering the cost of attending the UA. Still, financial aid should definitely be part of the package if tuition is raised.
In fact, it makes more sense to raise tuition than state taxes. Why not have the people utilizing the tuition to pay for it?
That being said, financial aid should be more widely available if tuition is raised. Someone who is qualified to attend the UA should not be turned away if he or she can't cover all the costs.
UA President Pete Likins advocates a substantial tuition and financial aid increase. Of course, this is nothing new. He advocated for one long before the UA's fiscal difficulties were the subject of daily water cooler conversation.
But last week something historic, although not completely surprising, happened. Student body President Doug Hartz showed signs of moving away from an archaic political approach and said that this year student lobbyists would not be calling for a so-called "zero percent" tuition increase.
Well, that's progress, but not enough. In Hartz's bid for the presidency last spring, he mostly skirted the tuition issue, the result of an uncompetitive election that left little time for serious debate and landed then-student senator Hartz with nearly 80 percent of the votes.
He has, however, hinted at being in favor of nudging tuition, or at least addressing it differently than his predecessors. At a debate in March 2002, before he was elected, Hartz said he supported a tuition increase, as long as the increase would be divided over several years ÷ not implemented all at once.
That seems reasonable. Hopefully, he hasn't changed his view. But there's no way of knowing. Student lobbyists stayed quiet on tuition all of last semester and have yet to release a number.
In all fairness, Hartz and his team say they've spent that time gathering data so that they can make an informed decision on tuition. There's no indication that Hartz and lobbyists are ignoring the issue. It's most likely at the top of their list of priorities.
Still, it all seems such a mystery because although Hartz has been open to suggestions and concerns over tuition from students, he has not
presented his philosophy on tuition. Decisions should be based on data, but one's principles shape how that data is read.
Early next week, Hartz and his staff are set to release a tuition number and hopefully a glance at their strategy and their reasoning. If all goes well, the months of research and quiet discussion done by student lobbyists will pay off and provide for a solid, well-argued stance.
If students are smart they'll advocate raising tuition by at least $1,000. That's the only way class availability will swing in the right direction and professors will get to start copying syllabi again.