Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

October 1, 2008


Host: Ted Simons

University Tuition


  • Regent Fred DuVal talks about the Arizona Board of Regents recent adoption of maximum parameters that university presidents must follow when requesting tuition increases.
Guests:
  • Fred DuVal - Arizona Board of Regents


View Transcript
>>Ted Simons:
In December, the Arizona Board of Regents will set next year's tuition for State Universities. Last week, at its meeting in Flagstaff, the board adopted maximum parameters for tuition requests from University Presidents. For instance, ASU may ask for no more than a $598, or about a 10.5% increase. NAU may ask to raise tuition by as much as $811, or nearly 15%. And the University of Arizona request would be capped at $726, or an increase of just over 13%. Regent Fred Duval will have more on that in a moment, but first, here's what the President of the Board of Regents had to say about tuition, just before the board voted on the new parameters.

>>Regent President:
I find it interesting that in the time that the regent and I have been on the Board of Regents, tuition has gone up. You told me the other day. You said 300%.

>>Regent: I said a lot.

>>Regent President:
I’m not sure it's 300%.

>>Regent: I am. [laughter]

>>Regent President:
A lot. I'll settle for a lot. But I find it interesting that in that same time period, we have become more affordable. We have become more accessible. The student, average student loan and the statistics are questionable, but the average student loan has not gone up. As long as we can take and maintain the accessibility, affordability of our universities, I’m not really that concerned about what tuition is as long as we can do what I think we're here to do, and that's to see that higher education is available to every qualified student in the State of Arizona.

>>Ted Simons:
Joining me to talk about university tuition is Fred Duval of the Arizona Board of Regents. Good to have you back on the program.

>>Fred Duval:
Thank you, Ted.

>>Ted Simons:
Tuition increases: why are they necessary?

>>Fred Duval:
This is, of course, the most painful thing we do on the Board of Regents. It’s so difficult because we are mindful that the cost of tuition goes up much faster than the cost of living, which the average student graduates from our system with $18,000 in debt. It’s a terrible burden, and a lot of our students can't stay in the system, because of the financial pressures. So it's hard. The answer why is complicated. It is costs, to be sure. Costs are rising. The big factor is that the--we have a chart that shows this. The amount of State support over the last 20 years has steadily declined. There have been better years than others. We are roughly, as a percentage of the State Budget, we are half of where we were 20 years ago. So we got to make up for that, and what ends up happening, and you can see there's a direct correlation between the loss in State Support for the Universities, and the rate of increase of tuition going up. And in fact, they are a mirror image. Now we find ourselves in the second year of a tougher State Budget. We’ve tried to keep a cap on tuition. But the cost, the system has resource needs, and with State Support going down, and in fact being cut, the pressure is on us to raise the tuition to try and make up the difference.

>>Ted Simons:
That said, are students being prized out of a University education in Arizona?

>>Fred Duval:
Some say we are. I think it's important to separate sticker tuition what's in the book and next tuition after financial aid. It's $160 million institutional financial tuition goes to students. The amount of out of pocket cost to the average Arizona student in the university system is $2,000. We have a Board follow policy reflected in the numbers we saw in the opening that we will not let tuition in Arizona go above the top of the bottom third of the 50 comparable institutions. The cost of higher education is growing every where in the country. Ours is going up as well. We hope to be a great bargain.

>>Ted Simons:
Correct me on parameters. The low end is cost of living. High end is higher pier and the middle is literally the middle. The higher end was chosen, correct?

>>Fred Duval:
Correct.

>>Ted Simons:
Because of the situation we are?

>>Fred Duval:
We faced $50 million in cuts last year and mindful this is Arizona. The growth rate we have 5,000 plus new students in our system. We have a growth rate combined with budget cuts and as a result the financing gap is higher.

>>Ted Simons:
I’m fascinated by the concept of setting parameters perhaps future endeavors along the lines. Is that different?

>>Fred Duval:
The Presidents have come to us with the recommendations that we have approved and tinkered with them. We have proactively said here are some considerations that need to be part of the modeling. Resource pressures on the institutions is a driving component. Cost of living, student aid, affordability, and accessibility these other factors from a student's point of view need to be part of the mix. Let's see if we can have the parameters to bring up the data before us when we make a decision.

>>Ted Simons:
Is the student's point of view instigate or push the parameters?

>>Fred Duval:
Yes. The students come to us with stories about trying to manage two or three jobs to stay in the system. Tuition is only a piece of the puzzle. The cost of the attend dabs is dormitories and myriad of expenses and textbooks. The overall cost of participation in our universities is much, much higher as a result.

>>Ted Simons:
Where do Arizona Universities rank as far as tuition costs generally?

>>Fred Duval:
I have a specific idea. We are below the top of the bottom third which means we are 42nd, 43rd depending on the given year of comparable institutions. Be mindful that we compare that metric against institutions that aren't growing with more stable populations. We are absorbing the growth notwithstanding that we are trying to cap tuition at a competitive rate to keep our student here and accessible. That's expensive.

>>Ted Simons:
the concept of guaranteed tuition. Talk to us about that. I'm not sure how that works or is working.

>>Fred Duval:
what we have heard from parents of students and students they want to be able to plan the costs so they know what jobs to take and how much money they need to get through. Secondly one of the biggest challenges in the system is retention and persistence. That's to keep them through school through completion and graduation. We thought by capping tuition saying here is your total cost of your degree if you go through if four years. It has two effects guarantees predictabilities and financial incentive to create it in four years.

>>Ted Simons:
the guaranteed tuition.

>>Fred Duval:
we go on hearing and go on telecast and hear from parents and students and a foreign view for us to consider and look at a lot of data and ultimately vote on the upcoming year's tuition at the December meeting.

>>Ted Simons:
good it have you on the program.

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