$600 Mil in budget cuts to state universities a possibility

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Over 700 showed up to meeting

PHOENIX - The Arizona Board of Regents is meeting on Thursday to discuss proposed budget cuts for the state's universities.

If the cuts happen, it would cost the schools hundreds of millions of dollars over the next 18 months.

Two Republican lawmakers are proposing a $600 million budget cut out of the Arizona university system over the next 18 months or so.

The news has students and faculty as well as the three presidents of Arizona's universities up in arms.

The budget will be topic #1 on Thursday at the Board of Regents meeting at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

The two lawmakers say the budget cuts would help with the more than $1.6 billion deficit Arizona is facing this fiscal year.

Arizona State University President Michael Crow says it would create a third-world atmosphere in higher education. He also says that slashing that amount of money would mean layoffs, cutbacks and campus closures as well as a possible tuition hike for students.

Student Michael Freeman says, "If that happens then it's like my parents are going to have to pay out of their pockethard for it to come out of their pockets so.I would have to go with loans and I really can't do that."

Jennifer Stewart, another student, says "College education is getting to be a luxury for some people because people just can't afford it.

The Board of Regents meeting was held at 1 p.m. A lot of people are expected to attend who are against these proposed budget cuts, but according to those lawmakers, at this point it is only a proposal. Over the next few days, they plan to iron out some details to try and work something out.