Lawmakers revive tuition prepayment program

By Beth Silver

Arizona Daily Wildcat

PHOENIX State lawmakers once again revived a tuition prepayment program in a final effort to get the student-supported bill through the Legislature this session.

The plan, offered as an amendment yesterday, would allow parents to pay their child's tuition years before he or she enters college. The state would invest the prepaid tuition to keep up with the tuition increases before the child enters college.

The Arizona Students' Association, a statewide student lobbying organization, has tried unsuccessfully to get the bill through with versions in the Senate and House.

Both eventually failed because the appropriations chairmen, who control the Legislature's purse strings, refused to hear them.

In their original form, the bills included $400,000 in state money to pay for start-up costs.

With the latest version of the bill, which does not include any state funds, passage is more likely, said the amendment's sponsor, Sen. John Wettaw, R-Flagstaff.

The Senate Education Committee passed the amendment 7-1.

"It's the Lazarus of our legislative agenda sprung back to life," said an elated Paul Allvin, the lobbying organization's executive director, after the vote.

Sen. Randall Gnant, R-Scottsdale, said he voted against the amendment because he had concerns about the state's liability. If the state's returns on its investments do not exceed tuition increases, the state would have to pay the remainder of the bill.

Sen. John Huppenthal, R-Chandler, and Wettaw said they would work out that issue before it hits the Senate floor.

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