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New tuition hikes drafted

Jake Lacey/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Regent Gary Stuart discusses tuition during the Arizona Board of Regents meeting in the Student Union Memorial Center Grand Ballroom on Thursday. Friday, Stuart said the reason tuition is rising is because the university is funding its own financial aid programs.
By Nick Smith
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, December 5, 2005
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Board discussed different ratesfor separate colleges, majors

The Arizona Board of Regents discussed the possibilities of differential tuition and approved a draft response to the tuition increase senate bill at the regents meeting on Friday.

Rather than focusing on raising tuition as a whole, the regents

discussed the merits of adjusting tuition for the separate colleges in a university. This differential tuition is a lump sum amount that could be higher or lower than the base tuition at a university, said Board President Christina Palacios.

Higher differential tuition would be recommended in colleges that require higher costs, such as business or engineering.

"It varies from college to college and major to major," said President Peter Likins.

If differentiated price were to go into effect, the new total would still be covered for any student receiving a tuition waiver, Palacios said.

Regents noted at the same time, the sum of the differential tuition could not exceed the requisite top of the bottom one-third for similar institutions nationwide.

"(Differential tuition) could push the aggregate above the top of the bottom third," said Regent Robert Bulla. "It's the mix of revenues we have to consider."

Having different tuition rates for different colleges raises the issue of students selecting a field of study based on what they can pay for, said Student Regent Ben Graff.

"My concerns are that we are pushing students with less resources to choose a major based on what they can afford," said Graff, a third-year law student.

Bulla said differentiating tuition could have unintended long-term effects.

"Any time you differentiate programs, you will change behavior over time," Bulla said. "You also have a risk of not maximizing revenue because of shifts in demand."

In addition to the discussion on differentiated tuition, the regents approved a response to Senate Bill 1517, which requires the regents to weigh the advisability and options of increasing tuition.

The regents must report to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee and the Office of State Planning and Budgeting by Dec. 31 for tuition options. Increases in tuition for continuing students are limited to the rate of inflation, according to the bill.

"It is an important response that we are making to the Legislature," Palacios said.

The regents advised the Legislature against implementing tuition caps and recommended the universities and policymakers discuss the resource needs of the university and the extent lawmakers will go to fund these resources to minimize tuition hikes, according to the regents report.

Regents said they were concerned the universities are being forced to raise tuition because the state has not granted them enough funds.

"We have taken our own money and put into financial aid," said Regent Gary Stuart. "The reason our tuition is going up is because we are funding our own financial aid programs."

Northern Arizona University President John Haeger said inadequate state funding could have an adverse effect on all of Arizona's universities.

"We have to educate students if tuition doesn't go up and appropriations don't go up, there will be fewer programs and fewer universities," Haeger said.

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