By Natasha Bhuyan and Cassie Tomlin
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, February 21, 2005
Administrators announced plans to implement a summer session tuition surcharge and to replace tuition waivers with fixed awards, measures which would potentially save the university $500,000.
President Peter Likins and Provost George Davis revealed their strategies to reallocate university finances to combat the UA's budget woes at Friday's Campus Town Hall meeting.
Likins said with the rapidly declining rate of state funding, the university is forced to turn elsewhere for money, and centralizing resources is the best solution.
Instead of drastically increasing tuition, Likins said there would be moderate tuition increases coupled with changes in university policy to sustain quality at the UA.
One change would be an $11 tuition addition to each summer session credit hour to compensate for the "excessive use of energy" expended during summer months.
Davis said the tuition surcharge alone would recover $500,000 for the university.
Joel Valdez, senior vice president for business affairs, sensors the temperature in every building on campus with "very sensitive monitors," Davis said. He said the sensors regulate the temperature based on the number of people in the buildings to avoid wasting air conditioning in vacant classrooms.
"It's a critical situation, and with these tools he saves a lot of money (for the university)," Davis said.
Both administrators explained the complications and challenges of extending financing at public universities.
Likins said increases in tuition are replacing state losses, rather than going to issues of student concern, such as class availability.
In addition to the summer session surcharge, Likins also said merit-based tuition waivers could turn into fixed awards.
Students who receive merit-based tuition waivers are exempted from tuition fees as long as they maintain a 3.5 grade point average or higher.
Under the administrators' proposal, those students may have to pay the difference between tuition hikes in following years.
"It may not grow as tuition grows next year," Likins said of the waiver.
Renee Warthman, a studio arts sophomore who attended the Town Hall, said since she receives a tuition waiver, she is worried about the proposed change.
Warthman said she thinks the proposal is unfair.
Likins also announced plans to increase non-resident undergraduate enrollment by 100 freshman students each year.
Non-resident students bring in more revenue to the university not only because they have higher tuition rates, but also because they receive less financial discounts from the university.
While resident tuition makes up 5 percent of the university's operating budget, non-resident tuition contributes 10 percent, said Dick Roberts, UA budget director.
Two years ago, the UA's non-resident figures declined when the state imposed an arbitrary 25 percent cap on non-resident students. Since then, the cap has been lifted, Likins said.
Before all the proposed changes are implemented, Likins said in the following weeks he will consult campus organizations including the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, the Strategic Planning and Budget Advisory Council, the Finance Committee and the Academic Council.