Arizona universities may be violating state constitutionPosted: Updated:
Some Arizona lawmakers are always preaching about upholding the state constitution, but new questions have been raised about Article 11 - Section 6.
It states that, "The university and all other state educational institutions shall be open to students of both sexes, and the instruction furnished shall be as nearly free as possible."
The truth is that tuition is not free at Arizona State University, The University of Arizona or Northern Arizona University.
In fact, tuition and fees at all three schools is around $10,000 a year for in-state students.
"Its absolutely getting harder to afford," said ASU student David Nelson.
"Its frustrating because a bachelor's degree can't even promise you a job anymore," said ASU student Sue Behera. "Why do we have to pay so much?"
The latest Arizona Board of Regents proposal calls for a 3 percent tuition increase at ASU and U of A and a 5 percent tuition hike at NAU.
Sue Murphy is in town from Iowa with her 16-year-old daughter Rachel, checking out the ASU campus.
Murphy told CBS 5 News that with the cost of out-of-state tuition and fees climbing to more $23,000, she's not sure anymore if she can afford to send her kid to ASU.
"It'll impact us a lot if they continue to do it all four years," said Murphy. "It's already a stretch to come out of state."
Eileen Klein is president of the Arizona Board of Regents.
She said that they've worked very hard to keep tuition costs in check, and last year there wasn't an increase at all.
However, Klein said she does recognize that tuition at Arizona universities has nearly doubled in the past six years, which Klein said, can be directly related to funding cuts from the state legislature.
In 2009, state lawmakers cut $150 million from state universities.
In 2010, $50 million was cut.
In 2012, more than $300 million was cut from the university system.
This year, state universities will finally see an increase of around $30 million.
"When you look at the comparison to peer institutions, Arizona's tuition rates are still below peer institutions rates overall," said Klein. "We are competitively priced."
The rate hikes are just a proposal and will be voted on next month by the Arizona Board of Regents.
None of the proposals recommend giving in-state tuition rates to undocumented students, something that had been discussed by university presidents.
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