To: Arizona Board of Regents
From: Robert C. Robbins, President – UArizona
Date: October 6, 2023
At the University of Arizona, we believe that students and their families deserve stability and predictability when planning for college. When we make it easier to understand the full commitment necessary to invest in their (and thus all our) future, our students are better prepared to thrive.
How we prepare our students is an expression of our Core Values. Our value of Integrity is reflected in the guaranteed tuition model that, starting in fall 2014, gave students certainty and which has been a consistently cited major factor in their selection to attend the University of Arizona. Our commitment to our value of Inclusion is why over 90% of our incoming undergraduate students receive financial aid. Our value of Compassion is expressed through our work to ensure that all students living in our dorms know how they will fuel their academic success, no longer wondering from where their next healthy meal will come. Our values of Exploration and Adaptation are reflected in our commitment to never stop seeking ways to support students and their families. With all of this in mind, I am proud to share this proposal as another step we will take to further simplify tuition and academic fees, starting in the 2024-2025 academic year.
This proposal is the culmination of significant planning and thoughtful reflection from leaders throughout the university community, including those in the Associated Students of the University of Arizona and the Graduate and Professional Student Council. Through these conversations there is agreement with the Board’s desire to both provide greater clarity and predictability for students and their families, while retaining flexibility to meet our ongoing financial obligations. We developed this proposal in concert with the announcement you will see in November and that will share our undergraduate tuition rates, housing rates, and meal plan rates, along with tuition for our medicine and veterinary medicine programs, all in accordance with the new approach you recently adopted.
Today, we seek your approval to:
- Reduce the confusion for undergraduate students created by the complex web of tuition, differential tuition, course fees, mandatory fees, and program fees as we move to a streamlined and easier to understand approach with just three components:
As we have always done, we will continue to reduce the financial impact of a higher education experience for those students who would otherwise not be able to afford the opportunity, creating a financial aid set-aside fund from the college fee model for this purpose
- Base Tuition, incorporating the Board’s new approach and announced each November
- Student Engagement Fee, combining all mandatory fees
- College Fee Model, eliminating course/program fees (except for the W.A. Franke Honors College program fee) and differential tuition
- Better support our graduate students by rolling all previously approved mandatory fees into their tuition. This will serve to reduce some of their financial burden by enabling them to use sponsored and gift-awarded remission to cover the total cost of their attendance. This also serves to ensure continuity of the services supported through those fees and creates an easier to understand approach with just two potential components:
- Base Tuition – combining both tuition and (all previously approved) mandatory fees, and incorporating the Board’s new approach, to be announced each November
- Program Fee – where applicable, based on the student’s primary program
- Align the realities of the growing cost of instruction in the following ways:
- W.A. Franke Honors College: continue providing the robust student-centered efforts Honors students need, such as extracurricular activities, expansion of honors courses, faculty fellowship, support for research projects, mentoring, internship, and advisory support, as well as creating additional revenue for better student support through stipends, scholarships, and work-study via an incremental increase in the program fee to $600/term. Note: Online & Distance Education and Sierra Vista Campus will remain at $95/term
- College of Nursing: create operational efficiencies and make it easier for students to plan for investment in their Nursing degree by converting the Master Entry to Professional Nursing from a fixed rate ($48,000/program for residents and $68,000 for non-residents) to a program fee ($5,000/term for both residents and non-residents).
- Eller College of Management: ensure that the new Master of Science in Business Analytics offered in Chandler is competitive in the national landscape, allowing it to invest in the high-quality instructors, industry interfaces, and career coaching that students expect, increasing the per credit cap to $1,350/in-state and $1,600/out-of-state and international.
- Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health: align the financial model of the MD-MPH dual degree programs with the Colleges of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix to correspond with the recent alignment of the program offerings, creating a new $750/term fee for College of Medicine Tucson which mirrors the same in the College of Medicine Phoenix.
We are also taking several steps that, while they do not require Board approval, will improve the student experience, including:
- Making the cost of a single credit hour more reasonable for part-time students by increasing the price ceiling from 7 to 12 credit hours, thus lowering the cost per credit hour.
- Clarifying that both the one-time fee for first year students and the Think Tank’s rebranded Schedule for Success fee are not rolling into the new, ongoing Student Engagement Fee or the College Fee model respectively, by properly classifying each as an Other Academic Fee.
- Implementing additional efficiencies in the new fee structure and reducing confusion for students by phasing out the mandatory fee guarantee, beginning with the Fall 2025 cohort.
- Reducing financial burden and creating consistency for graduate students seeking a certificate from the Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, by reducing the program fee from $250/credit to $75/credit.
You will find additional information on these changes in our executive summary.
These shifts will help provide stability and predictability for students and their families, while also reducing the administrative burden for numerous colleagues across the University. They are a critical part of the ongoing efforts at the University of Arizona, guided by the Board’s goals, to operate efficiently and provide the highest quality experience and education for our Wildcats, for years to come.
Thank you for your consideration of our proposal and your continued support of the University of Arizona community.
Robert C. Robbins