By Isabel Cardenas
The high price tag for college tuition has plagued students for generations. It is a time-honored tradition to complain about tuition hikes, but how far can tuition rise before college becomes unaffordable?
Arizona’s three public universities are proposing tuition hikes that range from 13 to 31 percent. The Arizona Board of Regents will meet March 11 and 12 to consider adopting the proposals.
The University of Arizona has proposed a 31 percent tuition hike, bringing the average annual tuition cost to roughly $9,000.
Arizona State University suggested a 13 percent increase, raising the average annual tuition cost to about $8,100.
Northern Arizona University, with a proposal to raise tuition by 16 percent, would bring the average annual cost to $7,700.
University administrators say they have made cuts wherever possible, ranging from consolidating programs to cutting staff. They partially blame the tuition hikes on state cutbacks, but critics contend the increases far outstrip state funding.
At the University of Arizona, for example, tuition has increased 88 percent since 2006.
Pima Community College students who plan to transfer to universities are already feeling the pinch, and worry whether they can afford skyrocketing prices.
Thomas Keith, a PCC history major, blamed state legislators.
“We as students are suffering because, under current politics, we are overspending on a state level and having to cut on education,” he said.
Students have staged numerous protests on Arizona’s university campuses. With the tuition hikes, many students say they have to take out monstrous loans.
“I do my FAFSA, but it can only cover so much,” Keith said.
John Cox, a PCC philosophy major, plans to transfer to a university in the near future.
“Tuition hikes do factor in my decision to transfer, but I don’t know what to do about it,” Cox said. “The money has to come from somewhere.”