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Budget Meeting: Tuition hikes expected as funds fall


Photo
Taylor House/Arizona Daily Wildcat
President Peter Likins and Provost George Davis discuss UA budget concerns and fielded audience questions Thursday in the Campus Town Hall. During the meeting, Likins and Davis assured students that they could expect more money to go toward ensuring class availability.
By Laura Ory
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, November 14, 2005
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Likins, Davis talk tuition, funding

Students can expect more money to go toward increasing class availability for courses in high demand, officials said at a Campus Town Hall meeting Thursday.

President Peter Likins and Provost George Davis discussed the UA budget and the state budget request and how the lack of state funding could result in more tuition hikes.

Because of financial strains, the state Legislature has decreased funding for universities over the past five years. Likins said there is a national trend of decreased funding to public universities, with most receiving 25 percent or less of their budgets from the state.

About 28 percent of UA's budget came from the state last year and a decrease in that percentage could result in tuition increases to make up for the loss of funds, Likins said.

About 10 percent of the UA budget comes from nonresident tuition, 5 percent from resident tuition, 6 percent from gifts, and the rest is brought in by grant and research dollars, Likins said.

This year the Legislature has more money to allocate, but whether that will translate into more money for the UA remains to be unseen, Likins said.

"They are making judgments, not just calculations," Likins said. "This is an opportunity for us and a test for the Legislature to see if they care about higher education."

The UA will request more than $38 million for future building renewal and an additional $88 million for building renewal expenses from the past three years that has been unfunded by the state, Likins said.

The UA will also request about $44 million for 10 strategic reinvestments, or new and existing programs with high priority; $6.6 million for continuation funds; and more than $50 million for unmet salary needs, according to the UA state budget request.

Kevin Gosner, an associate professor of history, asked whether the UA is going to use any state funds to hire more faculty members.

Davis responded by saying the university is beginning to create a systematic auditing process to determine the funding needs of UA departments and colleges.

Fernando Ascencio, Arizona Students' Association director, said he was glad to hear news of the auditing process because he thinks it can be used to increase class availability.

"Hopefully this will provide a detailed outlook to see where problems lie," Ascencio said.

Neil Critchley, a journalism sophomore, said until he came to the Town Hall, he had no idea how the UA manages its budget or what problems the university is facing.

"Few people seem to know where the funding comes from, and I didn't know until now," Critchley said.



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