Tuition for in-state university students would skyrocket by nearly 50% under a proposal being pushed by one of the leading Republicans on the Education Committee in the Arizona House of Representatives.
Rep. John Fillmore, a Republican from Apache Junction and the vice-chairman of the Education Committee, introduced House Bill 2020 earlier this month. The measure would require the Arizona Board of Regents to calculate in-state tuition “based on the actual cost of educating the student, including maintenance and operations costs and capital costs.”
According to ABOR, the average cost to educate a student at the state’s public universities is $17,075 – about 45% more than the average in-state tuition price of $11,777.
“While the board has not met to take position on bills, it should be made very clear that Rep. Fillmore’s proposed legislation would substantially increase the student cost of public higher education in Arizona, counter to the hard work of the Arizona Board of Regents and universities to keep higher education within reach for Arizona students and families,” said ABOR spokeswoman Julie Newberg.
Newberg added that, after financial aid, Arizona residents pay an average tuition amount of $3,914 at the state’s universities. There are three public universities: Arizona State University, University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University.
Fillmore’s proposed tuition hike also says that regents “may not consider a student’s ability to pay” when determining tuition and fees. Newberg said HB2020 would “limit access to students with limited means who rely on and receive financial aid to fund their education.”
The legislation also would penalize ABOR if a reduced tuition rate (like the one currently available to undocumented immigrants who graduate an Arizona high school) is greater than the out-of-state tuition rate.
That reduced tuition, officially called the Non-Resident Tuition Rate for Arizona High School Graduates, is calculated at 150% of the in-state tuition cost. That currently makes it more affordable than the out-of-state rate.
Fillmore didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.
His bill will be considered when the legislature returns to work in January.