Students At Public Hearing Largely In Support Of Universities' Tuition And Fee Proposals

Published: Tuesday, April 6, 2021 - 5:58pm

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all three of the state's public universities have proposed no tuition increases for in-state, undergraduate students.

Most students at a Tuesday public hearing on the proposals thanked the universities for their understanding of what students and their families are going through because of the pandemic. 

"The financial uncertainty of the student body has been an important issue this year and we believe that this recommendation will go along way in supporting our students and their families," said Troy Anderson with the ASASU Council of Presidents. 

Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona are looking to raise tuition for some graduate and out-of-state students. Meanwhile Arizona State University wants to keep tuition flat for all, including international students. 

While ASU's proposal is welcome by its faculty and students, university President Michael Crow said it also means the university will see no revenue increases because it receives very little public funding. He reminded the Arizona Board of Regents that ASU has a net operating position of a negative $250 million operating loss for in-state students.

“That does mean at some point we will be increasing tuition but not now. Not in the middle of a great pandemic, not in the middle of much uncertainty, not in the middle of all the things that we’ve been through and so we will carry on," Crow said. 

The universities have proposed some fee increases. NAU has also proposed a 4.45% increase for its 2021-2022 residence hall rate as it attempt to simplify its rent rate structure from 17 rates to five rates, reduces unit capacity from three students to two and add the cost of laundry into rent. 

The development of room rates at NAU includes a detailed rate review by an advisory council of residential students, elected Residence Hall Association (RHA) campus student leaders and university staff representing departments outside of housing, NAU said in a press release.

But Joe Carter with the Associated Students of NAU raised some concerns with this proposal at the Tuesday meeting. 

“We want the board to acknowledge that the new housing structure may be simpler, but the increase of rates may cause hardships for students and families who aren’t seeing an increase in income amongst the pandemic," he said. 

The board is expected to vote on the proposals at its April 15 meeting.

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