Student leaders call for transparency in tuition spending

West students also talk at tuition hearing about finding ways to afford college

11-18-08 Abor West
Political science junior,J. Brian Turner, left, and Ryan Caracciolo, student body president at the West campus, listen to communications junior Rose Defer speak at the telecast of the ABOR tuition meeting in the La Sala Ballroom on Monday. (Josh Snyder/The State Press)
Published On:
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
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Student leaders called for accountability in the spending of tuition money as students and administrators from around the state met Monday evening to discuss the future of tuition rates.

The tuition hearing, hosted by the Arizona Board of Regents, took place simultaneously at each ASU, UA and NAU campus.

The locations were connected via a video link, with speakers being shown on screens at each campus. ABOR members attended from different locations around the state.

The hearing was open to the public so that students could provide their input on the issue of the rising cost to attend college.

The hearing opened with UA President Robert Shelton speaking from Tucson, NAU President John Haegar speaking from Flagstaff and ASU President Michael Crow speaking from Tempe. Each president explained his plans for tuition during the 2009-2010 school year.

Crow proposed a 5 percent increase for all students currently attending ASU and a 10.9 percent increase for residents enrolling for the first time at ASU.

“It’s a very simple proposal we made,” he said. “And it’s a promise we intend to keep.”

Crow also stated his desire to normalize tuition increases to a predictable level, so that students will be prepared for the costs of attending college in future years.

Student-body presidents at each university were also given the opportunity to comment.

Ryan Caracciolo, student-body president at ASU’s West campus, agreed with Crow’s plans for a predictable increase in tuition but also called for an opportunity for the students to see for themselves what their tuition money is going to.

Caracciolo’s comments reflected the suggestions offered by a number of the other student-body presidents.

While the tuition increases are necessary, universities should be held accountable for the charges its students pay, he said.

“If we see an increase in tuition, then we must see a return on this investment … as manifested in the quality of our education,” Caracciolo said. “This way, students will know and be able to actively participate and make a change with the administration and in the investment that this University is making in academics and student services.”

The hearing closed with comments from students at each university.

From the West campus, communication junior Rose Defer spoke about her experiences with ASU’s programs while trying to afford tuition.

A returning adult, Defer saw her plans to pay for college drastically change during her time at the University and has had to find new ways to afford the rising cost. She also spoke about campus programs’ funding situations.

“Walking around and talking to the students, there are many programs that are underfunded,” Defer said.

Although she did not speak at the hearing, nursing junior Carina Calleja McKillips was grateful for the time the regents took to meet with students.

“I’m glad I did attend this because a lot of those things I had no idea about,” she said. “I didn’t know that a lot of people actually supported this increase.”

But Calleja McKillips said the hearing could have been more successful if more people were aware of the event, since only about a dozen people from the West campus attended the meeting.

ABOR will set tuition rates in a meeting in Tempe on Dec. 4 and 5.

Since the student population was given an opportunity to speak at Monday’s hearing, there will be no public testimony at the board’s final meeting before setting tuition for 2009-2010 school year.

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