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ASU recommends tuition investment to improve student success


November 09, 2006

ASU is recommending to the Arizona Board of Regents a resident and nonresident undergraduate tuition increase of 7 percent. The increase will allow ASU to continue improving access to a high-quality education and the achievement of student success, while remaining among the best educational values in the nation.

A college education is the best investment families can make in the futures of their children. The difference in average lifetime earnings for a college graduate over a high school graduate is estimated at $2.2 million.

A university education not only is a great investment, but in Arizona it remains relatively inexpensive. Tuition in the state university system still ranks in the bottom third of major public universities.

With recent tuition increases, quality, along with retention and graduation rates, have improved, and increased financial aid has made ASU more affordable.

In 2006, the Higher Education Price Index or HEPI, a measure of inflation in the costs of providing a college education, was 5 percent, which primarily reflects a disproportionate increase in utilities (up 27 percent), fringe benefits, including health insurance (up 5 percent), and supplies and materials (up 8 percent).

ASU’s tuition recommendation incorporates the cost increases reflected in HEPI, along with funds to cover the cost of improving the quality of its programs and services. This year’s recommendation represents a continued slowing over recent years.

The proposed graduate tuition increase is 8.5 percent. The university is continuing its commitment to graduate teaching and research assistants by improving their benefits, including a provision of health care.

Student investment, along with that of the state and private investors, affords ASU the opportunity to provide students with more opportunities for success. To assist those students who need financial support, the university will continue to set aside 15 percent of the increase to financial aid. Since 2001-2002, ASU has seen a 488 percent increase in students who are at or below the federal poverty level, and a 31 percent increase in Pell grant recipients in the same time frame.

ASU is proposing an annual $100 university technology fee. Nearly 73 percent of public universities have a mandatory student technology fee, and the average fee at other universities is $177, according to a 2002 Campus Computing Survey.

The quality of technology available to students has become an important factor in student recruitment, retention and the overall quality of the educational experience. The increasing pace of technological change, combined with rapid obsolescence, results in continual funding pressure. The technology fee will be used to fund technology initiatives aimed at continuously improving the student academic experience, including:

• Expanding ASU’s wireless network on ASU’s four campuses, including expanding coverage within the residence halls, public areas, classrooms and research facilities.

• Increasing the number of technology-enabled classrooms.

• Developing a system to allow students to access university-licensed software easily on student-owned machines from anywhere in the world, reducing dependence on common computing labs.

• Expanding and improving the online self-service environment to reduce the administrative burden on students.

To help offset the fee’s impact on the total cost of education for those students with need, 15 percent of the new fee is directed toward need-based financial aid.

The university is requesting an extension of the existing $50 annual Student Recreation Center (SRC) fee in place at the Tempe and Downtown Phoenix campuses to include students who attend the Polytechnic and West campuses.

Student interest at the Polytechnic campus and the West campus in providing opportunities for recreation and wellness programs – and in support of student activities and campus life – have resulted in the student leaders on each campus supporting, through resolutions of their student governments (effective November 2005), the request to implement the fee university-wide.

Polytechnic campus and West campus, with student input, have developed thorough plans for use of the projected revenues from the $50 fee. The plans include equipment upgrades, program and event support, capital planning and staffing. This implementation would provide more equity in programs and services for all students, as the fee would allow students to access programs, services and facilities on any ASU campus.

ASU supports a tri-university agreement for a 20 percent surcharge of the resident undergraduate tuition, applied to resident and nonresident undergraduate students who have earned credit hours in excess of the credit hour threshold as defined by state statute.

ASU also has announced a guaranteed tuition payment pilot program as requested by state statute, where students, upon their initial enrollment, are guaranteed a set tuition rate. The tuition guarantee term could be two, three or four years.

For comparison, with an increase of 7 percent for fall 2007, the annual tuition rate would be $4,912 for the Tempe and Downtown Phoenix campuses, and $4,708 for the Polytechnic and West campuses. If a student chooses to participate in the guaranteed rate tuition pilot program, resident tuition for each of the four years would be $5,635 for Tempe and Downtown Phoenix, and $5,402 for Polytechnic and West.

To review specifics on the guaranteed tuition payment pilot program, visit the Web page www.asu.edu/news/forthemedia/tuitionpilot.htm.

Tuition hearings are scheduled to take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Nov. 20, at the following locations:

• Tempe campus, Alumni Lounge, Memorial Union room 202.

• Polytechnic campus, CNTR 105.

• West campus, Sands 125.

• Downtown Phoenix campus, University Center Building room 107.

Those who cannot attend the hearing can send their comments via e-mail to Stella Galaviz, Arizona Board of Regents, at (stella.galaviz@azregents.edu), by regular mail, at 2020 N. Central Ave., Suite 230, Phoenix, AZ 85004, or by fax at (602) 229-2555. All comments received before Nov. 29 will be shared with the regents in advance of the Nov. 30 ABOR meeting.

To review specific differential tuition for school, program and course fee increases, visit the Web page www.asu.edu/news/forthemedia/programfees.htm.