By Amanda Hunt
Arizona Daily Wildcat
In-state students can breathe a sigh of relief over next year's tuition increases Ä but out-of-state students can only sigh.
The Arizona Board of Regents decided to raise in-state tuition 3 percent and out-of-state tuition 7.5 percent at yesterday's meeting at Arizona State University.
This will mean an increase in tuition and registration fees of $56 for in-state students at the University of Arizona, ASU and Northern Arizona University. Out-of-state students will pay an additional $478 Ä $422 in tuition and $56 in registration fees Ä at the UA and ASU. NAU's out-of-state tuition rate is slightly lower.
In-state students will now pay $1,884 per year, up from $1,828, while out-of-state students will pay $7,912, up from $7,434.
The regents agreed to the 3 percent increase because it matches inflationary increases for the year, and noted that it is a modest number compared to national averages of over 7 percent. They agreed on the higher 7.5 percent increase for out-of-state students because Arizona's rates are lower than other states.
The three university presidents recommended a 5 percent in-state increase. UA President Manuel T. Pacheco said that with decreasing support from the state Legislature, increases in tuition are necessary.
In his report, Pacheco said "We face $90 million in deferred maintenance, salaries that badly need improving, an outdated technological infrastructure, aging equipment and non-competitive scholarships ... In the absence of new appropriations, we can only meet these costs from tuition and registration fees."
Regent Andy Hurwitz said the difference between a 3 percent and a 5 percent increase comes to about $40, which could buy a textbook. He supported the 3 percent figure.
Earlier in the meeting, Barbara Chester, the ASU student president, held up a textbook and asked the regents how much it cost. The answer was about $60, which she said a student could not afford with tuition increases.
"I cannot justify increasing tuition until we have done everything to eliminate inefficiency in the system Ä and we have not done that," said Regent John Munger, who supported the increases, but asked that a task force study the inefficiencies. His proposal was rejected.
UA student representatives agreed that the in-state increase was fair, but felt differently about the out-of-state numbers.
"Anytime (a tuition increase) is close to inflation, it must be considered modest," said ASUA President-elect Ben Driggs.
ASUA President T.J. Trujillo agreed. "I don't think any student would disagree (with the 3 percent amount). It's like when you buy a car or a tomato Ä you expect the price to go up."
Trujillo said the burden of the university's financial need is "on the back of the most expendable" Ä the out-of-state student.
Paul Allvin, Arizona Students' Association executive director, said the 7.5 percent increase sends a bad message about Arizona schools.
"It says that you can only come here if you're rich," he said. "That's a terrible isolationist method."
Allvin also said the ultimate responsibility is the state's.
"If the state had treated the universities half as well as its prisons, we wouldn't need these increases," he said.
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