Tuition bill crucial to ASA, even without start-up funds

By Beth Silver

Arizona Daily Wildcat

PHOENIX The House Education Committee unanimously passed a student-supported tuition prepayment program Friday, but gutted the bill's funding.

If the bill passes the full Legislature without an appropriation, the program would be useless next school year.

However, student lobbyists with the Arizona Students' Association said they would take that over no bill at all.

Ben Driggs, a University of Arizona delegate to the statewide student lobbying organization, said the students could lobby the Legislature next year to give state money to start the program. Having just the concept in place this year would be good enough, he said.

The same bill passed through the Senate Education Committee, but was not given a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee, killing it for the session. If the mid

House Education Committee had passed it Friday with an appropriation, it would have been guaranteed death in the House Appropriations Committee as well, said Rep. Dan Schottell, R-Tucson, House Education Committee chairman.

Students originally asked for $400,000 in state funds to start the program, which would allow parents to pay their child's tuition as soon as he or she is born. The state would then invest the parent's money and lock in the tuition rate as soon as the parent begins paying it off.

ASA Executive Director Paul Allvin said the $400,000 appropriation could be negotiated to a figure as low as $150,000.

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