Monday, February 21, 2005

Hikes aren't limited to the great outdoors

It's about that time of year again - administrators begin to prepare for the following school year. In Arizona, this event has become synonymous with disputes over tuition hikes. Now, I'm for tuition increases when it's warranted - the state has angered many students, parents, teachers, and professors by underfunding the educational system as a whole (K-12 and universities), leaving universities one option. However, recent publications by the Wildcat have peaked my interest: is it warranted?
The universities also aim to put Arizona tuition rates at the top of the bottom one-third in comparison to peer institutions across the nation, a goal that originated in 2003 from the Changing Directions initiative. The UA is 41 out of 50 peer institutions, but to keep in pace with other universities, Likins said UA would have to increase tuition by 11 percent from last year and 19 percent this year.
So basically, they have implemented a quota system - their plan is to increase tuition in order to keep UA in "the top of the bottom one-third" of similar institutions. I know the state constitution argument has been used again and again, but this proposed plan does not fulfill it's requirements. If you're not familiar with it, I'll let you read what the AZ constitution says here.

How much will the proposed 8-11% increase effect my financial situation? Not much. But it upsets me when a certain Wildcat columnists resorts to calling anyone upset with tuition hikes "crybabies". Truthfully, his personal attacks on such lobbyists are overshadowed by his stereotype and the utopian proposal he builds upon it - to require students to do community service. I'm not opposed to a such a requirement, but thinking that this will cure these crybabies dismisses the foundation on which they stand - the AZ constitution.


Blogger Owen said...

I dunno Kevin, I'm often one of those who thinks that the people whining about tuition increases are doing just that: whining. That's not to say that the increases are sustainable (not just here in AZ, but across the nation), nor that they are "right." But instead of whining in the Wildcat or the Lumberjack, maybe people should actually do something -- contact their legislator, their local regent, etc. And that's my $.02.

7:13 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Here's another quote:
"One group has even filed suit against the state of Arizona over tuition increases. No, I haven't read their legal briefs, and I don't plan to waste my time with such gibberish."

I'm not debating whether there is an excesive amount of whining and little action - I would be happy if he was telling people to stop and do something. Instead, we should all just take it.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Jessica said...

As for your question of whether or not tuition hikes are necessary, consider that prior to the 2003 Changing Directions Initiative Arizona residents paid approx. 18% of the costs of their education. So students lucky enough to go to world reknown universities such as UofA should willingly accept paying 1/4 of their own costs in light of the fact that the state government will go bankrupt if it continues to fund universities at the current level. After all 75% off is better than no sale at all

1:31 PM  
Blogger Neal337 said...

My interest is piqued, but not yet peaked.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

A main benefit of "state-funded" unversities is the offset of tuition costs. Also, this years increase isn't due to a lack of state funding.

In a bit of irony, a good chunk of the increase is going to tuition remissions for grad students employed by the university. Even with the proposed 11% increase, I'll pay less next year than this year.

7:25 PM  

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