2015-16 Tuition Proposals

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TO: Arizona Board of Regents
FROM: UA President Ann Weaver Hart
DATE: April 10, 2015
SUBJECT: 2015-16 Tuition Proposals

 

Enclosed is the University of Arizona’s tuition proposal for the 2015-16 academic year. In developing this proposal we used the strategic business portion of the UA’s Never Settle Plan as our guide. The University will not pass on the full burden of the $28.5 million state funding cut to students. Modified revenue assumptions requiring budget cuts as well as significant resource reallocation are reflected in this proposal. The basic elements of the plan are built around five key objectives:

  • Maintain and expand predictability for UA students and their families
  • Meet the state budget cuts through a shared approach including tuition revenue, internal cuts, efficiencies and reallocation
  • Establish a pilot of several masters programs as a part of the guaranteed tuition program
  • Examine the UA internal process for approval of course and program fees in collaboration with student leadership
  • Use the Never Settle plan to guide institutional priorities and investment

The Tuition-Setting Process

Student leaders from the Associated Students of the University of Arizona (ASUA) and the Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) were actively involved in helping craft this tuition recommendation.  Two meetings were held in the fall with undergraduate and graduate student leadership and the UA Senior Leadership Team.  These meetings were focused around providing UA budget background, including trends of cuts, tuition and fees, declining state support and institutional investment needs.

From January through March severalmeetings were held with student leaders and Senior Vice Presidents Andrew Comrie, Gregg Goldman, and Melissa Vito to review various budget scenarios. These scenarios focused on advancing the Never Settle plan as our guide and on creating a shared approach to meeting cuts and investments.

Student leaders from the ASUA and the GPSC reviewed last year’s revenue and expenditures, proposed revenue and expenditures for next year, reviewed peer institutions’ tuition and fees, and examined a number of modeled tuition scenarios.

Student priorities included maintaining a shared approach to meeting the cuts so that tuition increases were only one part of the institutional strategy, maintaining and expanding predictability to more undergraduate cohorts, expanding the guarantee to include mandatory fees, increasing graduate assistantships as a part of expanding online programs, implementing several masters programs guarantee pilots, guaranteed mandatory fees for graduate and professional students, examining compensation levels for Graduate Assistants and assessing the feasibility of setting aside resources to increase compensation.

The UA proposal addresses each of these priorities. Below are the key elements of the plan:

  • Mandatory fees will now be part of the guarantee.
  • For entering freshmen, the cost of the four-year guarantee including mandatory fees and tuition together will be higher than last year by 4.07% ($446) for residents and 10.91% ($3,209) for non-residents. By definition, this cost will have a zero percent increase over the four years.
  • For current undergraduate students who do not opt into the guarantee program at last Fall’s rates (i.e., “regular” rates, but see below for a retroactive opt-in program), the increase in mandatory fees and tuition together will be 2.75% increase for residents and 5.80% increase for non-residents.
  • For graduate students the increase in mandatory fees and tuition together will be 2.77% increase for residents and 5.80% increase for non-residents. 

Expanding predictability:

  • Undergraduate students who did not opt into the guarantee program last year will be offered an opportunity to enroll this year at last year’s rate.  This will provide predictability for upper division students who choose to enroll—an important priority for student leadership.
  • At student request, selected master’s degree programs will pilot 2 or 3-year guaranteed tuition rates.

Student Fee Reform

  • Senior Leadership established a student fee advisory committee to review all aspects of the Course and Program fee process on campus. This group met several times throughout the fall and spring semesters and developed a set of recommendations to be implemented by July 2015 to increase transparency and accountability. Recommendations include: increased representation of undergraduate and graduate students on the committee; agendas posted on the committee website along with outcomes of each meeting; a list of all members of the committee on the website; college websites and the central website reflecting fees in each college and general expenditures.
  • A fee student advisory committee has been established for fully online courses that are offered for students enrolled in traditional, on-campus degree programs (referred to as iCourses). The role of this committee (which includes representatives from the ASUA, GPSC, and individual college councils) is to review general expenditures, ensure clear communication about fee uses and provide input on the student online course experience to appropriate staff.

With this proposed tuition plan, the University will maintain progress on the Never Settle academic and business plan without forcing students to bear the entire burden of state funding reductions. While this will require real cuts and reallocations of resources across campus, the Never Settle plan will provide the strategic guidance so that the University remains successful in its core mission. We are proud that this plan not only promises zero tuition increase to current students enrolled in the tuition guarantee for the rest of their four years, but that it also extends that zero percent increase guarantee to all incoming resident and non-resident undergraduate students at the new rate.

 

Arizona University System President's Recommended 2015-2016 Base Tuition and Mandatory Fees

UANews: UA Announces Tuition Proposal