Arizona universities slow to rebound from recession

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The recession caused big cuts at state universities around the nation but now with a slow bounce back, that money isn't being restored in Arizona.

"We were a little surprised that, unfortunately, Arizona was at the bottom, that we fared the worst among all states," said Eileen Klein, president of the Arizona Board of Regents.

A new study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says per-student funding in Arizona is down by more than 40 percent since the start of the recession.

During the same time, tuition has spiked 80 percent at Arizona state schools.

"This state only provides about a third of our funds overall, and families and students are making up the rest," Klein said. "We don't think that's a sustainable model in the long term and we're very eager to have the state return resources to the universities."

Klein said state schools also added more than 20,000 students during that time.

Now, every state except Alaska and North Dakota is spending less per student than it did before the recession.

The report says Arizona cut more than $3,000 in per-student state money between 2008 and 2014. That is the 10th highest cut in the nation.