Group seeks middle ground on tuition increase plan

By Melissa Prentice

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Arizona students' request for more predictable tuition fell short of approval at a board of regents committee meeting Thursday.

The Arizona Students' Association, a state-wide student organization, asked the members of the Campbell Commission to adopt a managed plan which would require tuition increases to be under a previously determined percentage, which would allow students to plan for the next year's tuition.

"A lot has changed over the years that have lead to peaks and valleys in tuition increases, but what has not changed is the need for students to budget and finance their lives," said executive director Paul Allvin.

The commission is comprised of three regents, three university presidents, three student-body presidents and Spencer Insolia, a former student regent. The commission will make recommendations regarding tuition and financial aid to the full board.

Under the ASA plan, the regents would be required to keep tuition increases under an agreed-upon cap. For example, an increase could be no more than 5 percent

over the previous year.

Any need to increase tuition above this percentage would be subject to the Arizona legislature's approval of additional student financial aid, under Allvin's plan.

When committee members disapproved of tying the board's ability to set tuition to the legislature, Insolia proposed a similar plan that would require regents to approve a tuition increase above the set percentage with a "super-majority" vote, rather than relying on a legislative decision.

The plan was rejected by the committee, with only the students voting for it.

Regent Andy Hurwitz then proposed a less intensive plan that would require the board to keep any increase within a predetermined range. For example, an increase would need to be between 3 and 5 percent more than the previous year. However, his plan required no action from the legislature and no super-majority vote by the board.

Hurwitz's plan was approved by the commission.

"I passed Regent Hurwitz a note that said I was going to vote against it so we could readdress the issue at a later date and get a plan students were more happy with," said T.J. Trujillo, ASUA president.

Allvin said, "We did extensive surveying of students and we didn't hear that they wanted no increase, but what we heard was that they wanted more accountability. Students have a hard time swallowing any increase if they don't know where it will go. They need to have confidence that they are getting their money's worth."

UA President Manuel Pacheco, who opposed the ASA plan, said he could not give accurate estimates of how the money would be spent before he was sure how much the university would receive from the state.

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