Tuition rising sharply next year at ASU, NAU
Arizona Republic
December  6,  2007

Anne Ryman

Tuition will increase sharply next year for incoming freshmen at two of Arizona's three state universities in exchange for zero or limited increases in future years.

Arizona State University will raise tuition and mandatory fees for freshmen and transfer students by nearly 14 percent but cap future tuition increases at 5 percent. NAU's Flagstaff campus will increase tuition and fees 12 percent for new students and lock in the tuition rate for four years.

The University of Arizona is not offering guaranteed tuition, but its increase is more modest than ASU and NAU. UA undergraduate students will pay 9.8 percent more in tuition and fees next year.

The Arizona Board of Regents approved the increases for the 2008-09 school year on Thursday at its meeting at ASU's Tempe campus. The increases at ASU and NAU are a bold departure from current practice. Most universities adjust tuition for all students each year. The rates go into effect for the 2008-09 school year.

ASU has the steepest increase. Tuition and fees will go from nearly $5,000 to $5,659 next year for freshmen and transfer students. In future years, students will see tuition alone rise by a maximum of 5 percent each year. Returning students will pay $5,313 next year, and 5 percent more in tuition each subsequent year.

Student groups had asked the board to freeze tuition and wanted the Arizona Legislature to kick in an additional $25 million toward the universities. Students wearing blue T-shirts with the words "Freeze Tuition" packed a meeting room at ASU on Thursday. Before the meeting, about 30 students marched around the ASU Tempe campus shouting, "Freeze tuition, freeze tuition, freeze tuition now."

Members of the Arizona Students' Association, a statewide student group, worry the large increases create a financial burden for freshmen.

The cost of attending a state school is still below the national average. Tuition and fees nationwide average $6,185 this year at four-year, public universities. UA, which has the most expensive tuition and fees for undergraduates, charges $5,037 this year.