Arizona university students fear proposed new fees

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Students and legislators are clashing when it comes to who should pay the state college tuition bill.

“It’s a great university, but this $2,000 bill is going to make a huge difference,” said Arizona State University student Elizabeth Sanchez.

That's why students across the ASU campus were spreading the word Wednesday about House Bill 2675.

The bill proposes ASU, Northern Arizona University and University of Arizona students who cover tuition with grants and certain scholarships come up with $2,000 of their own money to attend one of the state's universities.

“It will only prohibit internal university grants and gifts. Any outside grants, gifts, scholarships they can use to cover that last $2,000,” said Rep. John Kavanagh R-Fountain Hills, who authored the bill.

Kavanagh said those who earn an athletic or academic full-ride scholarship would be off the hook.

“Everybody needs to have a little skin in the game,” Kavanagh said.
 
If the bill passes, students like Mark Naufel with Arizona Students' Association would not be allowed to use money from their need-based scholarships to pay the $2,000.

"So now I have to take a third job or put another burden on my parents," Naufel said.

“It means I’m going to have to get a loan, it means I’m going to be more into debt when I graduate,” Sanchez said.

Kavanagh suggests students who buy designer beverages stop and save that cash for tuition.

“Most of this $2,000 could be solved for her if she bought one less bottle of Evian water a day,” Kavanagh said.

A state report found more than 40 percent of undergraduate in-state students pay no tuition or mandatory fees.

“There's nothing wrong with paying a mere 20 percent of the cost of your education when you didn't earn an athletic or academic scholarship,” Kavanagh said.

The representative argued his bill forces students to invest in their education and take their studies more seriously.

“If we weren’t invested in our education we wouldn’t go to college, we wouldn’t go to universities,” Sanchez said.

The bill passed committee on Wednesday and now goes to a vote of the full House.