Increased Program Fees At ASU Favors Gender And Women’s Studies Over Other Programs

By Corinne Murdock

Phoenix – According to their proposed fee increases, Arizona State University (ASU) has determined that a master’s in Gender and Women’s Studies should be more affordable than most other graduate programs.

ASU’s Gender and Women’s Studies students face a mere $80 increase. Other masters programs face increases up to hundreds of dollars higher. On the low end, Crime Analysis bears a $100 fee increase. On the high end, students wishing to receive their master’s in either Accountancy or Taxation must pay $1,000.

The new tuition schedules indicate that millions in federal COVID relief dollars weren’t enough for Arizona’s three public universities.

In December, Governor Doug Ducey gave $115 million of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds to the state’s three universities. Both the University of Arizona (UArizona) and ASU received $46 million, and Northern Arizona University (NAU) received $23 million.

From the Joint Legislative Budget Committee:

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund ($736 million): Federal Funds are distributed directly to institutions of higher education (IHEs). Arizona IHEs received $304 million from COVID 3. Of this amount, approximately $122 million went to public universities, $82 million to community colleges, and $101 million to private institutions. So far, Arizona IHEs have been allocated $432 million from COVID 4 and are expected to receive additional funds. Of the $432 million, $198 million will be distributed to public universities, $167 million to community colleges, and $67 million to private institutions. For both COVID 3 and COVID 4, some of these monies must be used for student grants, while the remainder may be used to offset revenue shortfalls. For public universities, a total of at least $118 million must be distributed as student grants. COVID 3 monies must be spent by September 30, 2022, and COVID 4 monies by September 30, 2023.

It is unclear what university expenditures necessitated fee increases, especially considering that students attended virtually during the pandemic.

Concerning the new tuition schedules, ABOR emphasized that none of the three proposals included any tuition increases. However, ABOR didn’t say anything about increased program fees.

ABOR Chair Larry Penley said in a press release that the new tuition schedules created by the university presidents “reflects our commitment to ensuring an affordable education even as our institutions experience fiscal challenges wrought from the pandemic.”

That commitment looks like an $80 program fee for an online Master of Arts degree in Women and Gender Studies, compared to a $1,000 per semester program fee increase for Master of Accountancy students.

It is unclear if the decision to increase program costs correlates to the anticipated earnings associated with a field. In those two examples, the average salary for a Women and Gender Studies graduate is $56,233, whereas the average salary for an individual with a Masters In Accountancy is $71,899.

Despite the massive amount of federal dollars, the proposals submitted by the three presidents also included changes to college fees, program fees, class fees, and meal and residence hall rates.

Here are what the increased costs include at one of the universities, ASU:

College of Health Solutions

  • Doctor of Audiology: $800/semester program fee increase
  • MS Communication Disorders: $1,700/semester program fee increase
  • MS Nutritional Science (Dietetics) – Online: $45/credit hour program fee increase
  • MS Strength and Conditioning: $2,500/semester – new program fee

Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation

  • MS Regulatory Science: $2,000/semester – new program fee

Hershberger Institute for Design and the Arts

  • M of Architecture ; M of Visual Communication Design ; M of Industrial Design ; M of Interior Architecture ; M of Landscape Architecture ; M of Urban Design: $575/semester program fee increase
  • MS in Architecture: $875/semester program fee increase
  • MS Design in Industrial Design, Interior Architecture, Visual Communication Design: $500/semester program fee increase

Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

  • Master of Human Resources and Employment Law: $725/credit hour – new program fee
  • Master of Human Resources and Employment Law (Online): $658/credit hour – new program fee

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

  • MA Women and Gender Studies (Online): $80/credit – new program fee

 Thunderbird School of Global Management

  • MA Global Affairs and Management: $489/credit hour program fee increase
  • MA Global Affairs and Management (Executive): $489/credit hour program fee increase

Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions

  • MS Crime Analysis: $100/credit hour – new program fee
  • MA Policy Advocacy (Online): $100/credit hour- new program fee

W.P. Carey School of Business

  • Graduate Certificate in Marketing (Online): $375/credit – new program fee
  • Graduate Certificate in Real Estate: $375/credit – new program fee
  • Master of Accountancy: $1,000/semester program fee increase
  • Master of Taxation: $1,000/semester program fee increase

Linked here are the NAU and UArizona proposed program fee increases.

Corinne Murdock is a contributing reporter for AZ Free News. In her free time, she works on her books and podcasts. Follow her on Twitter, @CorinneMurdock or email tips to corinnejournalist@gmail.com.