Arizona State University President Michael Crow told lawmakers Tuesday his administration will ask for a tuition fee increase to help offset the governor’s proposed higher-education budget reductions.
Crow said he doesn’t know what the exact fee increase will be.
“Right now, we are anticipating substantially less than 50 percent of the governor’s budget reduction would be addressed through tuition adjustments,” he said.
“The rest would be adjusted through cuts, revenue enhancements and reorganization,” he added.
Under Gov. Jan Brewer’s executive budget proposal, the three state universities would take a $170 million cut, about 20 percent of the money they get from the state. Community colleges would lose about $73 million in general fund support as well.
Lawmakers will likely take the governor’s proposed cuts as a template for solving the state’s budget shortfall.
Crow also told lawmakers what the universities really seek is certainty and stability; that way, they can make adjustments and plan accordingly.
The ASU president said “wild fluctuations” in state support cause huge disruptions to programs, which are often geared towards long-term goals.
Board of Regents Chairman Anne Mariucci earlier said it would be unrealistic to expect tuition to stay level for the next year.
Mariucci said she is resigned to the cuts. But there’s no question that the results will be severe, she said.
“It will be a combination of cost-cutting, just ruthless cost-cutting,” Mariucci said, “not only going to the bone, but beyond the bone.”
The university system must deal not only with the $170 million in general fund cuts, but with the loss of hundreds of millions in federal stimulus money as well. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided $154 million to the universities in 2009 and $71.7 million in 2010. Those funds helped the universities offset deep cuts for the past two years, but the stimulus money has finally run out.
The Board of Regents already approved massive tuition hikes in 2010, raising in-state tuition by 15.9 percent at Arizona State University, 17.3 percent at Northern Arizona University and 23.7 percent at the University of Arizona.