Tuition plans pass first review, seek funding

By Beth Silver

Arizona Daily Wildcat

PHOENIX Two student-approved tuition programs passed the Senate Education Committee yesterday, the first step in a string of tests before final approval.

The committee voted 7-1 to endorse both a tuition prepayment plan and a college work-study program presented by the Arizona Students' Association.

The committee's chairman, Sen. John Huppenthal, R-Chandler, was the lone dissenter in both bills. Huppenthal said he opposed the bills because they each came with a $400,000 price tag.

The Senate and House Appropriations Committee chairs share Huppenthal's sentiment. Last week, the two chairs who control the committees that decide how much money goes to legislation, said they refused to hear the bills because the state has no money to pay for them.

If the bills do not get a hearing in the appropriations committees, it would be nearly impossible to resurrect them later in the session.

"I think there is a better chance that Danny Manning will start for the Suns tonight than this will get a $400,000 appropriation," said Randall Gnant, R-Scottsdale, of the prepayment plan.

Still, Gnant said he supported the plan to allow parents to pay their child's tuition years before he or she enters college. The money would be a one-time cost paid back to the state within five years.

Sen. John Wettaw, R-Flagstaff, the bills' sponsor, said the state could find the money.

"This committee has been approving tens of millions of dollars today. I find it very hard to believe that we don't have $400,000 available," he said. "That means that every other bill that has been passed by this committee ought to be recalled.

Huppenthal said he worried the state would mid

incur other costs when the state-invested money failed to keep up with the rate of tuition.

Huppenthal criticized members of the statewide student lobbying group for not working out a model where the state's returns fail to meet tuition increases.

In the past 10 years, tuition has increased an average 6.8 percent per year.

"I'm very troubled in not seeing models for liability to the state if we see a period of inflation," Huppenthal said in the hearing.

The committee also passed a work-study program where students would receive internships in their major area with private businesses. The state would pay up to half the salary and the business would pick up the rest.

While Huppenthal said he supports the concept of work-study, he said the $400,000 cost is something the universities should pay for, not the Legislature.

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