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Arizona State U., Northern Arizona U. Offer Tuition Proposals With Longer Reach


State university presidents’ recommendations would have students and their families paying more in tuition next year, but some attending Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University would know what’s coming after that.

The ASU and NAU presidents’ 2008-2009 tuition recommendations for in-state undergraduates include proposals to either limit future increases or keep the rates steady for the following three years.

The University of Arizona’s president also proposed a tuition increase but did not include a multiyear component.

The Board of Regents, which oversees the university system, will conduct a Nov. 29 hearing at 11 sites on 2008-2009 tuition and fees, with formal consideration planned at a Dec. 6-7 meeting.

Arizona State University President Michael Crow recommended increasing tuition for new undergraduates who are Arizona residents by 12 percent to $5,409 a year and by 5 percent to $5,063 for returning undergraduates.

ASU called the 12 percent boost a “market tuition correction.”

After that, resident undergraduates at ASU “would be able to plan” on annual increases of 5 percent, “giving families predictability while enabling the university to keep pace with other top public research universities,” the university said in a statement announcing Crow’s recommendation.

“University officials believe this multiyear proposal for modest and predictable tuition increases will help students and their families plan for the cost of a college education,” ASU said.

Northern Arizona University President John Haeger proposed a 12 percent increase to $5,145 in freshmen and transfer resident undergraduates’ tuition, with those students’ tuition staying the same for the next three years.

The four-year plan, dubbed “block tuition,” would provide predictability for college expenses as well as an incentive for students to remain at NAU and graduate, Haeger said.

NAU’s returning resident undergrads would see a 7 percent increase next year to $4,916 at the Flagstaff campus, while new and returning in-state students at non-Flagstaff sites would see a 7 percent increase to $4,731.

UA President Robert Shelton recommended a 9 percent increase to $5,274 in undergraduate tuition for resident students attending the main campus in Tucson and a 7 percent increase to $4,604 for in-state undergraduates at UA South in Sierra Vista.

An advocate for university students called the two schools’ multiyear approaches welcome but of minimal value given the high cost of tuition and the proposed increases.

“Just because you can predict how much college will cost doesn’t mean you can afford to pay for it,” said Serena Unrein, executive director of the Arizona Students Association. “The affordability issue is a bigger concern because if you can’t even get to college in the first place because you can’t afford it, who cares about predictability?”

The students association has asked the regents not to increase tuition for the 2008-2009 academic year and for the Legislature to increase university funding to the equivalent of a 5 percent tuition increase.

In addition to tuition hikes, each president also proposed increases in various fees.

On the Net:

Arizona Board of Regents: (includes links to each university’s recommendations).

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