Ducey Weighs Higher Education Funding in Arizona


Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has been meeting with the state Board of Regents in an effort to discuss the future of higher education in the state.

The meeting, which Ducey held with the board and the presidents of the three universities in the state, was put together in an effort to create a “sustainable long-term business plan” that would see cuts made to administration to make college more affordable as well as introducing the view that the state is only one of many funding options.

The universities would like to maintain a higher level of control over research products and employee pensions and benefits.  Ducey said that before that could happen, he would like to see “proper guardrails” put in place.

While allowing universities to control their own funds would fit with the governor’s view of state support not being seen as “the only financial driver of the future growth of our university system,” the governor added that the regents would need to consider affordability before any more increases to tuition were made.

Ducey went on to say that he views the higher education system as an important aspect of the economic development for Arizona.

Earlier in the year, legislators had made cuts to higher education funding in the state totaling $99 million for the upcoming fiscal year.  Ducey said that those cuts could become permanent.

And he is not ruling out further state aid reductions.  When asked whether some of the cuts made would be restored, he discussed “the difficulty of the financial situation of the state and the shortfall that we faced coming into office.”  He added that the state currently puts around 7% of its $9.1 billion budget into universities.

The cuts could cause a rise in tuition costs for universities across the state.  Parents are currently awaiting the announcement of the 2015-16 tuition costs during an upcoming Arizona Board of Regents statement, reports Kevin Kennedy for AZCentral.

Current tuition at schools like ASU and NAU is around $5,000 per semester, although a full year will end up costing about $20,000 once books, fees, housing and extra costs are considered.  “If you start saving when the child is born it’s probably going to take about $500 a month until that child graduates from college to pay for a college education,” said Mike Sullivan from Take Charge America.

Sullivan went on to say that most families will need to borrow money or take out student loans to afford tuition costs.