Tuition And Housing Hikes Announced At Arizona’s Three Public Universities

Tuition And Housing Hikes Announced At Arizona’s Three Public Universities

By Terri Jo Neff |

Tuition for the next academic school year is going up at Arizona State University for all students, while tuition hikes at the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University will hit mostly new students, according to the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR).

On Thursday, the ABOR which oversee the state’s three public universities announced higher tuitions and housing costs for residents and non-residents during the 2022-23 school year. All except the UofA will also be increasing the cost of student meal plans.

“The board recognizes any increase in tuition has an impact on Arizona students and families, but we are pleased that the presidents’ proposals included only modest added costs in 2022-23,” ABOR Chair Lyndel Manson said of the hikes. “The proposals demonstrate the joint commitment of the presidents to prioritize Arizona, access and quality while shielding resident students to the greatest extent possible from extraordinary inflationary cost pressures.”

The ABOR’s announcement means existing and new resident students at ASU will be paying 2.5 percent more than this year’s tuition. That works out to $10,978 for undergrads who are Arizona residents and $12,014 for graduate in-state resident students

ASU students who are not residents of Arizona will experience a 4 percent tuition hike, while the ABOR approved a 5 percent hike for international students at ASU. Online students registered at ASU will also notice a 2 percent increase in the cost of each credit hour.

At the UofA, resident students currently in the Guaranteed Tuition Program will not see tuitions go up, but incoming freshman and undergrads whose tuition is not guaranteed will pay $11,535 per year, a two percent increase. UofA grad students who are residents will pay $12,348, which is also up 2 percent.

Non-resident new students and non-resident existing students who are not in one of UofA’s guarantee tuition program  will see tuition rates jump 5.6 percent.  Different tuition rate increases are being implemented for the UofA’s College of Medicine and College of Veterinary Medicine students.

Meanwhile, incoming freshman and graduate students at NAU will be hit with a 3.5 percent tuition increase to $11,024 and $11,390 respectively. The rate boost applies to resident and non-resident students.

Undergraduate course fees at NAU will also be changing for the 2022-23 year. Meanwhile, international students at NAU will experience the biggest tuition hike among the three universities, with increases of 7.2 to 7.4 percent.

But that is not the only economic impact students at Arizona’s public universities will have to contend with for the 2022-23 school year.  The ABOR has upped its housing costs between 3 and 3.5 percent at all three universities.

Any students seeking to utilize a university’s meal plan will also have to fork over more money during the next school year. In addition, ABOR also boosted some mandatory student fees.

According to the ABOR, a person must be able to prove “continuous physical presence in Arizona for at least 12 months immediately preceding the semester of application” to be eligible for resident tuition.

Arizona’s Public Universities Ordered To Divest Any Russian Assets

Arizona’s Public Universities Ordered To Divest Any Russian Assets

By Terri Jo Neff |

The Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) has directed the state’s three public university presidents to immediately take the necessary steps to rid the universities of any investments in Russia companies.

The ABOR’s order to the presidents of Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, and University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University comes after Arizona Treasurer Kimberly Yee recently reminded all state vendors and contractors of their responsibilities in response to current U.S. sanctions against Russia.

The order also requires the director of the board’s retirement plan to exclude Russian assets and investments until further notice.

“The Arizona Board of Regents condemns in the strongest possible terms Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of the sovereign nation of Ukraine and apparent targeting of civilian populations, with one million refugees already in its wake,” said ABOR Chairperson Lyndel Manson.

Several educational programs at ASU, NAU, and UA with ties to Russia or Russian universities have been put on hold since the invasion began last month.

“As this humanitarian tragedy and assault on democracy continues to unfold, it is vital we understand the totality of our engagement in Russia so we can take any appropriate and necessary action,” said Regent Larry E. Penley.

State Still Below Average For Residents With Degrees While Universities Award Record Number Of Them

State Still Below Average For Residents With Degrees While Universities Award Record Number Of Them

By Terri Jo Neff |

Arizona’s three public universities produced more degrees in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020 than in any previous year, but the state continues to lag the national average for the number of residents with at least a bachelor’s degree, according to a report issued by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR).

The ABOR’s recent College Completion Report shows graduates at Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, and University of Arizona earned a combined 47,531 degrees for FY2020. That represents a 29 percent increase over the last five years and includes 33,973 bachelor’s degrees, of which 21,425 were earned by Arizona resident students.

The report also shows all three universities significantly increased bachelor’s degrees in key STEM fields in FY2020, producing a combined 9,295 bachelor’s degrees, a 61.7 percent increase over the last five years. The universities also awarded substantially more bachelor’s degrees in health fields in 2020 – conferring 2,879 degrees, a 46.6 percent increase over the last five years.

At the same time, students earned 6,086 bachelor’s degrees in Business, far exceeding any other field of study. However, the ABOR report shows there was a decline in bachelor’s degrees awarded in Education by Arizona’s three public universities at only 1,586. There were also declines in the Agriculture & Agriculture Operations degree program as well as Foreign Languages & Linguistics program.

However, Architecture & Related Sciences saw an unexpectedly strong increase at a time when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is reporting the job market for the industry is expected to grow only one percent from 2019 to 2029.

Despite the upbeat focus of the ABOR report, U.S. Census records show only 29 percent of Arizonans hold a bachelor’s degree or more, far short of the national average of 35 percent.

In response, the regents are kicking off the “New Economy Initiative” which seeks to raise Arizona’s competitiveness by increasing educational attainment, “leading to increased prosperity for individuals and Arizona.”

The business plan of the ABOR’s $120 million New Economy Initiative is designed, according to the regents’ website, “to enhance Arizona’s competitiveness with strategic investments in areas of strength at our three public universities. This targeted approach to workforce development in high-value industries will yield a positive return on state investment.”

The website shows the funding includes $46 million for ASU to be used in part to design and launch “the largest center for engineering education and research in the United States” and to grow enrollments to more than 25,000. It also seeks to make metro Phoenix “the leading center for engineer talent production in America.”

NAU has been allocated $22 million to “provide talent in high demand fields with an emphasis on health care programs in regional locations, including mental and behavioral health, to address the state’s needs as highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Meanwhile, UofA would receive $32 million through the New Economy Initiative to enhance medical professional and researcher training, to enhance capacity for students’ careers in national security, space technology, and planetary defense; and to develop Arizona’s only School of Mining into “a world-class leader in mining for the 21st century.”

Other highlights from the ABOR’s FY2020 College Completion Report include the fact a combined 13,558 graduate degrees were conferred in the same period, which represented a record number of master’s (11,387) and doctoral (2,171) degrees.

The most master’s degrees were in the fields of business management, education, engineering, health professions, and public administration, while the greatest numbers of doctoral degrees were in the fields of education, engineering, health, legal professions, and physical sciences.

Arizona’s Public Universities Ordered To Divest Any Russian Assets

Arizona Board Of Regents Agree With Auditor General Finding Of Failure To Provide Adequate Oversight

By B. Hamilton |

The Arizona Board of Regents has agreed “with all the findings,” the Auditor General reached in a recent performance audit related to Arizona’s state universities’ failure to consistently follow its guidelines.

The Arizona Board of Regents also agreed that it failed to provide adequate oversight of the universities.

On Thursday, June 3 the Arizona Auditor General released the second in a series of three audit reports on the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) as part of the organization’s mandatory sunset review.

The audit looked at whether ABOR’s guidelines governing university-affiliated organizations, such as university foundations and alumni associations, were consistent with recommended practices and the extent to which the universities complied with these guidelines.

The bottom line, according to the Auditor General: “The universities have not consistently followed ABOR’s guidelines governing university relationships with affiliated organizations, limiting full transparency and accountability for some university resources provided to and the benefits received from these organizations, nor did ABOR regularly receive information on affiliated organization activities.”
The Auditor General’s report includes the following findings:

• ABOR defines affiliated organizations as legally separate nonprofit corporations that hold economic resources and carry out activities primarily in support of the universities; and the State’s 3 universities have established relationships with 19 affiliated organizations, including fundraising foundations, real estate organizations, and alumni associations.

• In fiscal year 2019, the universities’ affiliated organizations made $253.5 million in payments to benefit the universities for various purposes, including donations and scholarships, and the universities paid $102.8 million to their affiliated organizations for various purposes, including service fees, real estate debt service, and expense reimbursements.

• Universities lacked current agreements and complete documentation and disclosure of some transactions with some of their affiliated organizations, limiting their ability to demonstrate the public purpose of university resources provided to these organizations and hold them accountable for providing expected benefits and agreed-upon services.

• ABOR’s affiliated organization guidelines lack some requirements to ensure full transparency and accountability and ABOR has not explicitly overseen universities’ compliance with its guidelines.

• ABOR has not required universities to report information it needs to identify, monitor, and mitigate risks associated with affiliated organization activities such as mismanagement, investment losses, and fraud.

The issues of ABOR have been ongoing. In July of 2019, the Arizona Attorney General filed a lawsuit against ABOR and Arizona State University (ASU) alleging violations of Arizona’s constitutional gift clause, and in October of 2019, the Arizona Auditor General released an audit that describes similar issues.

The Arizona Attorney General alleged that ABOR and ASU violated Arizona’s constitutional gift clause when they gifted Omni Hotel almost 37 million dollars upfront in discounted property valuations, paying for a parking garage, and paying an additional $19.5 million to build a conference center where ASU was only contracted to use 7 days per year.

The Arizona Attorney General’s records also indicated that ASU valued the property, located at the corner of Mill and University, at $85 per square foot, yet across the street, the Hilton Canopy paid $212 per square feet.

The courts, though, rejected the Attorney Generals’ arguments on the matter.

In the most recent audit, the Arizona Auditor General states that still “Universities have not consistently documented and disclosed some affiliated organization transactions, limiting full transparency and accountability, and ABOR has not explicitly overseen university compliance with its guidelines.”

This is after a response from ABOR in October of 2019, stating that due to the policies being revised in December 2018, they had not had the chance to implement the new policies effectively. Now, with the new audit, ABOR has agreed to implement the recommendations by the Auditor General.

According to the 2019 audit, the Campus Research Corporation (CRC) spent an estimated $38.1 million without written approval due to the UA not being able to demonstrate written approval from the UA president for the CRC’s budget and, instead, relied on the CRC’s Board of Directors to approve its own budget. The CRC also, contrary to the master lease agreements, inappropriately advanced $3.9 million generated at one property to another property, including approximately $1 million that the CRC advanced to the other property in fiscal years 2017 and 2018 instead of paying rent to the UA.

In 2019, ABOR had entered into 3 master lease agreements with the CRC, a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization affiliated with UA to operate, manage, and sublease ABOR properties.

The UA also failed to retain records of its public activities related to overseeing ABOR’s master lease agreements with CRC, contrary to public records laws.

ABOR continues to lack comprehensive property information to independently oversee and manage the use of its properties. As of May 2019, ABOR did not maintain a complete list of all property that it owns, although its policy requires the universities to maintain some information on ABOR properties they use. A review of the Arizona county assessors’ and treasurers’ records identified 1,127 parcels in Arizona potentially owned by ABOR and compared this information to property listings the universities provided.

Findings indicate that NAU’s listing did not include a 23-acre parcel listed on the county assessor records as ABOR-owned and included 8 acres of property for which it could not demonstrate ABOR’s ownership; UA’s listing included 255 acres of property ABOR never owned and nearly 83 acres that ABOR had sold; and ASU’s listing was limited to its commercial properties, which is only a portion of ABOR properties ASU uses.

The Auditor General found that “Although the universities have developed processes for mitigating the risk of inaccurate property ownership information, ABOR’s lack of comprehensive property information limits its ability to oversee and manage the use of its properties.”

State Still Below Average For Residents With Degrees While Universities Award Record Number Of Them

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.