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Regents vote Thursday on tuition surcharges

Citizen Staff Writer



A proposed tuition increase at Arizona’s three public universities will highlight the Arizona Board of Regents meeting at the University of Arizona this week.

The regents will vote on the “economic recovery surcharge” for UA, Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University on Thursday morning.

UA proposes a $1,100 tuition surcharge for all students, in addition to differential tuition increases or program fees in the colleges of Medicine and Nursing.

NAU is proposing a $494 tuition and mandatory fee surcharge, and ASU is proposing a $1,240 tuition and mandatory surcharge.

The surcharges would be reviewed annually and bring in $94.5 million to the university system next year, according to board documents. The majority of the money raised would be at ASU, which would get $60 million through its surcharge.

UA estimates the tuition surcharge and differential tuition in the colleges of Medicine and Nursing would generate $29.4 million. NAU estimates generating slightly more than $5 million.

All revenue estimates are after setting aside 17 percent to 20 percent of the surcharges for financial aid.

The university presidents say surcharges are necessary to make up the difference between what they expect to get from the federal stimulus package and the $191 million in state budget cuts made this academic year.

The surcharges would bring tuition at the universities above the ceiling previously set by the board for tuition and mandatory fees.

The regents will also vote on a one-year exception to board policy that requires tuition and fees remain in the bottom one-third of rates set by the nation’s 50 senior public universities.

The state student association opposes the increases, saying they violate student trust and tuition-setting policy. The regents approved tuition increases for fall 2009 during their December 2008 meeting.

The regents are also being asked to consider but not yet vote on raising the threshold at which special course fees must be brought before the board for approval.

Course fees pay for various costs associated with a particular course, including field trips, specialized equipment use, private instruction or selected personnel expenses, according to board documents.

Current board policy requires that any course fee of more than $50 receive board approval. Leaders at each of the universities want the ceiling raised to $100.

The board would vote on the item at its June meeting and, if approved, new fees of less than $100 could be instituted at each university’s discretion for any course in the 2010-11 academic year.

At UA, 1,426 courses – 8 percent to 9 percent of total courses offered this year – have fees. Nearly $1.3 million was generated from those fees this year.

The regents will consider the universities’ 2009-10 academic strategic plans and vote whether to amend and extend the multiyear contract of UA head football coach Mike Stoops.

Stoops, whose base salary and incentive pay is $685,288, would receive a raise to $1 million effective in July, with a $100,000 annual raise for the next four years.

If you go

What: Arizona Board of Regents meeting

When: 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday; 9:30-11:30 a.m. Friday

Where: Student Union Memorial Center, North Ballroom

A look at UA’s proposal

• $1,100 tuition surcharge per student

• Eliminate cohort pricing for the College of Medicine, bringing tuition to $21,618 for the 560 students at both campuses. Current tuition ranges from $18,198 to $20,168 depending on when the student entered the college.

• Establish an annual differential tuition of $2,000 for junior and senior nursing students in the bachelor of science nursing program.

• Raise annual tuition in the nursing doctorate program from $4,000 to $5,200.

• Establish a set program fee of $28,000 for the 14-month accelerated bachelor of science nursing program.

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