RSSAll Entries Tagged With: "Tuition"

Potential tuition hike on governing board agenda

Potential tuition hike on governing board agenda

By EDDIE CELAYA

The Pima Community College Board of Governors will consider raising in-state tuition and cutting employee benefits at its next meeting.

The March 8 meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. in the Community Board Room (Building C) at the District Office complex, 4095 E. Broadway Blvd.

TUITION DISCUSSION

The governing board might decide to increase tuition by $7 per credit hour, the college’s largest increase ever.

College officials have said budget shortfalls may force a tuition increase. They’ve listed factors such as state funding cutbacks and dwindling enrollment.

David Bea, PCC vice chancellor for finance, presented three budget scenarios to the Board of Governors last December. One scenario included a $7 per-credit-hour increase in tuition. The two other scenarios both proposed a $3 increase.

College spokeswoman Libby Howell said the proposals are just that: proposals. “It could be a $7 increase, yes,” she said. “It could just as easily stay the same or fall somewhere in between.”

In a typical year, the governing board schedules a study session devoted solely to tuition a month before its public vote, Howell said.

That didn’t happen this year.

“There was no study session on just tuition,” she said. “There was a budget session, and it was during that time they discussed and included tuition rates for the March meeting.”

Board chairman Mark Hanna said he is “concerned we’re voting on a tuition increase before we actually have taken a look at what we’re going to do to reduce costs.”

Hanna has voted against tuition increases the last two years.

“It’s the most important issue I have to deal with each year, because I know how it affects our students,” he said.

The governing board voted last March to decrease international tuition from $5,280 to $4,500 for a full schedule of classes, a drop of nearly 15 percent.

Hanna said the board’s 2016 vote doesn’t cheat in-state students by giving big breaks to international students. He argued it simply levels the playing field for all non-residential students.

“We are treating everybody who is not a resident of Arizona or Pima County the same,” he said.

EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

The governing board will also be asked to approve contracts for employee benefits.

The board typically takes into account information from both employee groups and the administration when deciding the best course for benefit packages, according to Howell.

“Much like with tuition, the board can either vote to increase or decrease the cost and type of benefits packages,” she said. “It’s all related to the budget.”
Hanna, citing a presentation given by Bea, said the cost of employee benefits is high.

“Obviously, health insurance is the highest percentage of that,” he said.

The cost must ultimately be shared, Hanna said.

“Then we would make a decision based on how to adjust the cost to the “how much the college shares versus how much employees share,” he said.

In-state tuition increasing

In-state tuition increasing

By EDDIE CELAYA

The Pima Community College Board of Governors has voted to raise tuition for in-state residents for the 2016-17 school year. The board also approved cuts to out-of-state, international and online tuition rates, and will offer at a 50 percent discount to students 55 and older.

Board members approved the changes by a 4-1 vote during their March 9 meeting. The new rates take effect July 1.

In-state students will see a 4 percent increase, from $75.50 to $78.50 per credit hour.

For a full-time, in-state student taking 15 credit hours, the increase equates to $45 more in tuition per semester.

Some PCC students said the increase could be an issue.

“It’s unfair to certain people, it’s already pretty expensive” student Arturo Padilla said. “If you already don’t qualify for financial aid to cover tuition, this just makes it harder.”

Student Marie Hill agreed.

“I pay for my own school, I don’t qualify for financial aid,” she said. “I understand as the economy gets better, the college needs to raise prices.”

But as a single mother with a full-time job, Hill said the raise will cause additional strain.

“It’s stressful as it is,” she said. “We get enough of the prices of food, gas, books, etcetera. This definitely doesn’t benefit me.”

Others, like student-athlete Alyssa O’Connell, didn’t view the increase as significant.

“It’s not too much different,” she said. “I play sports and I’m on scholarship, so I’m sure that will cover it.”

While the plan raises the in-state tuition rate, it also applies a tuition cap. Students will not be charged tuition for courses they take in excess of 15 credit hours per semester.

Weston Brown, director of International Programs and Recruitment, believes a tuition cap will benefit certain students and help attract out-of-state and international students who might not have considered PCC under the old tuition schedule.

“For students in advanced programs, where they might carry 16 or more credits, this cap at 15 could be a huge motivation to not only progress through the program faster and cheaper, but also to attract students who otherwise would have questioned the price,” Brown said.

The cap won’t factor into some students’ decisions, though, according to student Gabrielle Sisneroz.

“I’ve got to take the classes I’ve got to take,” she said. “This won’t make me want to take 16 instead of 12 or 13 credits.”

The new rate structure reduces out-of-state and international student tuition by $52, from $352 to $300 per credit hour.

The most drastic cut, however, is to non-resident online tuition rates. The board approved a cut of 40 percent, reducing the per-credit rate from $352 to $210.

The reductions will help PCC become more competitive in the international, out-of-state and online student markets, according to Vice Chancellor for Finance David Bea.

PCC compared itself to peer institutions, Bea said. He cited Rio Salado College in Tempe, with an online tuition rate of $215 per credit hour, as an example of a competitive peer program.

“We really wanted to approach this from a market standpoint,” he said. “Right now, we’re on the high end of the spectrum.”

During the question and comment period at the March 9 meeting, some board members expressed misgivings about the tuition raise.

“It feels as if we’re somehow balancing the budget on the backs of in-state students,” District 2 board member Demion Clinco said. “I don’t think that’s what is going on but it certainly has that flavor.”

Bea countered by saying meetings with student group representatives were encouraging.

“At three dollars per credit, we didn’t see a lot of pushback,” Bea said. “At five dollars we saw some squeamishness, some squirming in the seat.”

District 3 board member Sylvia Lee focused on the international tuition rate. “If we approve this plan tonight, I assume there will be a bold marketing plan?” she asked Chancellor Lambert.

Lambert assured her there would be, and that part of that plan would focus on comparative costs of living.  For some reason, he said, “we project high, as high as if you were living in Silicon Valley. We are clearing that up.”

Before calling for the vote, Board Chair Mark Hanna, who represents District 1, said it would be hard for in-state students not to view the increase in their tuition as helping to subsidize the attendance of out-of-state, international and online students.

“To appear to balance the budget on the backs of students, I understand, intellectually, that’s not what’s going on,” Hanna said. “But when I look at it, and I see the only way to raise more money is to charge our students more, that’s really troubling.”

Board members Clinco, Lee, Scott Stuart and Martha Durkin voted in favor. Hanna cast the dissenting vote.

For more information on the new tuition schedule and the 2016-17 budget, visit PCC’s website at pima.edu/meeting-notices/presentations/2016-2018/201603-09-fy17-tuition.PDF.

Student Laura Huskey visits the Student Services Desk at West Campus to ask when the new tuition schedule will take effect. Tuition for in-state students increases 4 percent starting July 1, to $78.50 per credit hour. (Eddie Celaya/Aztec Press)

Student Laura Huskey visits the Student Services Desk at West Campus to ask when the new tuition schedule will take effect. Tuition for in-state students increases 4 percent starting July 1, to $78.50 per credit hour. (Eddie Celaya/Aztec Press)

Pima grapples with budget limit law

Pima grapples with budget limit law

by NICK MEYERS

Pima Community College won a narrow victory earlier this year when a bill in the state legislature that would have cost the college an additional $30 million in spending failed.

The vote came less than a year after the state eliminated $7.1 million in funding to the college.

“It’s something that would have had a catastrophic effect if it had passed, because we would have had to immediately reduce our budget because of that bill,” said Michael Peel, government relations liaison for PCC. “We had to move quickly with the advocacy against this and all the community colleges were against such a bill.”

According to Pima’s Executive Vice-Chancellor of Finance David Bea, “You’re talking about massive cuts. It would have meant layoffs and cutting high -cost programs.”

Rep. Justin Olson, R-Mesa, introduced HB 2442 during a legislative session on Feb. 19, which would have changed a formula limiting Pima’s expenditures,  based on full-time student enrollment, to reflect the college’s actual enrollment as opposed to the estimate the college currently provides.

The bill is currently on hold while a study committee hears cases from community colleges, local businesses and the Arizona Tax Research Association. Pima administrators have attended the three sessions held so far to advocate for the college’s current budget decisions.

The formula calculates expenditure limitation for Arizona community colleges, which were introduced into Arizona’s state constitution in 1980, to restrict the spending of money collected from property taxes within each county.

The current calculation takes a snapshot of Arizona community college spending 35 years ago, adjusts for inflation and enrollment and dictates how much PCC can spend in revenue collected from property taxes.

The legislative committee spared Arizona’s community colleges in deciding to table the bill. Rep. David Stevens, R-Sierra Vista, introduced another bill that formed a study committee to explore the issues surrounding the calculations of Pima’s and other community colleges’ expenditure limitations.

“The formula is nutso,” said Libby Howell, spokeswoman for PCC.

“It’s this very arcane formula,” Howell added. “It uses a price index that nobody uses. It’s not valuable.”

The majority of support for HB 2442 comes from the ATRA, Olson’s previous employer. ATRA represents large business interests with officials from businesses like CenturyLink, Intel and Southwest Gas populating its board of directors, according to the group’s website.

“ATRA is very influential at the state level,” Bea said.

In defense of the bill, ATRA’s senior research analyst, Sean McCarthy, maintained that while multiple facets of state governance must adhere to expenditure limitation, community colleges are the only “jurisdictions” that have the ability to so freely dictate their budget.

“This provides a good step forward,” he said. “Right now what we’re doing is, essentially, disrespecting the constitution.”

However, now that the issue of expenditure limitation calculations is being discussed, almost all parties involved agree that some change has to be made.

“The expenditure limitation problem is a complex one,” Kristen Bollini, a lobbyist for community colleges in Arizona, said during public comments when the bill was introduced. “The estimates versus actual FTSE is a very small component of an overall challenging formula for the community colleges.”

In September, ATRA released a report analyzing Arizona community colleges’ finances, and accused Pima of exaggerating the estimate of full-time enrollment in order to “sidestep a declining expenditure limit.”

Indeed, PCC reported an FTSE of 23,000 while current enrollment hovers somewhere around 18,000—an overestimate Pima officials knowingly made.

Bea said “it would have been extremely unlikely” for Pima to reach such high levels of enrollment, as the college has seen enrollment decline since 2011.

However, like Pima, other community colleges have the tendency to vastly overestimate their enrollment in order to maximize expenditure limitations.

In 2014, Mohave, Graham and Pinal community college districts estimated FTSEs at a higher percentage of actual FTSEs than Pima.

The college stands by its estimate as it claims the extra cash is necessary to operate in the 21st century.

Howell said that the exaggerated estimate “allows us the opportunity for growth and to plan ahead. If you told any other kind of business that they could estimate what their customer demand was going to be, it’d completely hamstring them.”

A major difference between 1980s Pima and today’s Pima is the higher cost of technical programs such as nursing, dental hygiene and truck driver training. The current formula for expenditure limitations does not reflect the higher per-student cost of these programs compared to per-student costs of 1980.

“We are very different today than we were in 1980,” Bollini said in defense of all Arizona community colleges. “The programs this state needs are very different today than they were in 1980, and it’s time to adjust the formula.”

Pima also maintained a “fiscally conservative” budget in 1980, placing them far below the average of Arizona community colleges. In fact, Pima had the lowest expenditure per student of all Arizona community colleges in 1980. This allows other colleges to spend more per student than PCC.

If Pima’s expenditure limitation was set to the average of all Arizona community colleges, the college would see a $60 million increase in available funds.

“It’s a fascinating case of policy gone awry and not understanding the long-term implications,” Peel said.

The college’s expenditure limitations do not affect the rate of property taxes. PCC has maintained a tax rate below the state average for the last 10 years.

Almost every community college district in the state raises property tax rates the maximum 2 percent every year, and Pima doesn’t have a secondary tax, unlike some districts.

A few other nuances of expenditure limitation keep community colleges from being able to maximize their potential budget, such as what is and isn’t included in the law.

One common example is that funding for buildings are exempt from the expenditure limitation.

“We could build a building, but we can’t run a program in the building to educate the students,” said Howell.

If changes are made that aren’t in the colleges’ best interests, costs may need to be accounted for in other areas. Currently, tuition is the largest source of income for colleges that is not included in the expenditure limit.

“That puts huge upward pressure on tuition,” Bollini said. “If we’re going to continue to operate community colleges in an affordable manner…tuition increases are not the way to go.”

Also included in the expenditure limit are certain financial involvements from local businesses.

According to Bea, depending on how a contract is worded, if a business wants to fund a program at a community college, the college may not be able to accept due to expenditure limitation.

“We’re trying to maintain the very expensive workforce development programs, the very programs that we’re penalized for providing in a time of economic need for Arizona,” Bollini said.

This has rallied support for community colleges from local businesses in the ongoing study committee.

A Tucson company called World View is one such business that came to Pima’s aid in the latest study session on Sept. 30. World View is a space-tourism company that builds high altitude balloons to send people into space beginning in 2017.

Maricela Solis de Kester, a government relations representative for World View, said during the study session that the company may have to move to Florida for better access to workforce development programs.

The company approached PCC about hosting a program to train 400 employees for a prospective factory but Pima is unable to develop the program due to expenditure limitations.

“If a business wants to go to us and say they want to continue and extend a program, they should be able to do that without any barriers,” Peel said. “We’re in a day and age where grants and entrepreneurial activity and business investment are the future.”

While all parties agree that something must be done to address the issue of expenditure limitations, no certain solution is in sight. With the current legislative session coming to a close, time is running out for legislators to arrive at a solution.

College officials said several options exist that may satisfy the needs of all community colleges. Possible changes include weighing certain programs to receive more money or changing the way the formula accounts for inflation.

“There’s a lot of areas that we’d like to see improved,” Peel said. “The question is, how beneficial is one change compared to other changes to the law? That’s where the negotiations get very complicated. There’s all these factors you have to take into account.”

Pima raises tuition $5

Pima raises tuition $5

DECISION FOLLOWS STATE ELIMINATING PCC FUNDING

By ANDREW PAXTON

Pima Community College’s governing board voted to increase tuition days after the state eliminated funding to the college.

Gov. Doug Ducey and the Arizona Legislature delivered the final blow to state funding for PCC with the release of the 2016 state budget on March 7.

The budget eliminates the final state allocation to PCC, which totaled $7.1 million in 2014. As recently as 2008, the state provided about 15 percent of the college’s budget, although that number  dwindled to less than 5 percent.

“I am extremely disappointed to report to you that the new budget eliminates all state funding for Pima Community College … reducing our three primary revenue streams to two with the stroke of a pen,” PCC chancellor Lee Lambert wrote in an email.

“These resources are essential as we train students so they can propel our region’s economic development,” Lambert said.

Pima’s governing board voted to raise tuition by $5 per credit hour on March 11, making in-state tuition $75.50 per unit starting in Fall 2015. Most PCC classes are three or four units.

The raise was foreshadowed days earlier when Lambert talked about “hard decisions” following the release of the state budget.

“The college has a history of keeping tuition low, as we recognize many of our students are of modest means,” Lambert said.

“We must balance the need to keep tuition increases reasonable with the need for revenue to continue to provide high-quality programs and services that deliver value to students and the community.”

The college also increased the semester processing fee from $10 to $15.

Pima eliminated the $15 graduation application fee and a $2 fee for student identification cards.

Lambert said administrators have been meeting with student government leaders “to share information and gain their insights,” regarding tuition and fee increases.

The college also considered raises of $10 and $15 per credit hour, which student leaders opposed.

Pima has been anticipating cuts to its state funding and has been planning for possible shortfalls.

“The budget planning process puts us in a strong position as we determine how proposed cuts could impact our operations and our students,” Lambert said.

Pima has prepared different action plans for budget reductions ranging from $5-$15 million.

“However, the proposed cuts would compromise our ability to provide affordable and modern training opportunities for Arizona’s future workforce,” Lambert said.

State universities are also taking about $99 million in cuts.

“This is a values-based budget that reflects key priorities for the state of Arizona,” Ducey said in a statement shortly after the budget plan was released.

Lambert pledged “to minimize the damage to the college wrought by the state’s decision.”

“I have been heartened by the outpouring of support for PCC from students and all corners of the community as the state’s budget direction became clear,” he said.

“Our customers and constituents understand that PCC’s continued delivery of quality education is crucial if students are to achieve their personal vision of the American Dream, and that our students form the backbone of a stable, healthy, economically vibrant Tucson.”

Lambert will host several information meetings to give more details about how the budget cuts will impact the college.

“The meetings are meant to convey the latest information and to answer questions and concerns,” Lambert said.

“I remain resolute in my belief that by working together and having open discussions, we can meet our challenges and continue to deliver high-quality services.”

FYI

PCC budget finance meeting dates and locations:

March 9, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Downtown Campus, Amethyst Room
March 10, 4-5 p.m., Desert Vista Campus, Ocotillo Room
March 24, 3:30-4:30 p.m., 29th Street Coalition Center, Aurora Room
March 25, 3:30-4:30 p.m., West Campus, JG05
April 2, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Northwest Campus, A207
April 6, 3:30- 4:30 p.m., Community Campus, A109/112
April 7, 10-11 a.m., Maintenance & Security Conference Room MS 105

Tuition rising $5 per credit hour

Tuition rising $5 per credit hour

By ANDREW PAXTON

Pima Community College students will pay more for classes next semester, following the college’s governing board approval of a tuition increase.

The board members heard from administrators, students and members of the community before voting 4-1 to raise tuition by $5 per credit hour for in-state students during its March 12 meeting.

The increase is larger than in most recent years, when tuition was increased by $2 or $3. However, the college did raise tuition by $5 in  2011-12 and 2012-13.

The cost of one credit hour for in-state residents will now be $76, including student services and technology fees.

PCC currently has the third-lowest rates in the state, which college officials expect will remain unchanged following tuition increases at other institutions.

Tuition for non-residents will remain unchanged, due in part because Pima eliminated a discount for part-time non-resident students in 2013. Officials said they didn’t want to impose another increase so soon after eliminating the discount.

The technology and student services fees that all students pay will remain unchanged as well. But fees for certain high-cost classes, such as nursing and aviation, will increase.

During the meeting, Pima’s finance chief, David Bea, detailed budget shortfalls and explained to the board and audience members why the increase is needed.

According to Bea, the need arose mostly from cutbacks in state funding, an opinion that was echoed by Chancellor Lee Lambert.

“Nobody wants to raise tuition,” Lambert said. “The state has walked away from their commitment to higher education, and especially to community colleges.”

The state of Arizona once provided more than 15 percent of Pima’s budget, but in recent years that number has dropped to around 5 percent.

To make up for the shortfall, college officials said they have no choice but to increase tuition as part of their strategy to meet the monetary needs of the institution.

Before the board meeting, PCC officials met with representatives from student government and provided details regarding the proposed increase and how the funds would be used.

“It is a great opportunity for students to communicate with those who have authority in decision making at the college,” said Alec Moreno, president of student government at West Campus.

Student representatives brought up concerns such as textbook usage, instructors not always fully utilizing available technology and funding for Student Life.

“I think we were taken seriously and given their full attention,” Moreno said.

Lambert said he wants to start bringing more focus to the individual campuses instead of everything being centered at the college’s district office.

“On the campuses is where the real work is being done,” he said. “That’s where our students are.”

According to Bea, the $5 increase will help finance several improvements to the college.

The college will spend $500,000 to enhance student services across each of the PCC’s many campuses and education centers.

Pima will also invest $500,000 to modernize four classrooms and train employees to use the new equipment.

Another $200,000 will go to hiring four additional faculty for Developmental Education.

Bea also discussed other additional priorities for PCC, including program enhancement, new initiatives and recruitment.

The college also plans to invest more in veteran student support, records management and complaints resolution.

Those areas have all come under fire recently, with the veteran’s program being sanctioned for faulty record keeping and faculty and students expressing a lack of an effective system for registering complaints.

Aaron Dinus, a member of Downtown Campus student government, told the board that students would approve of the tuition increase as long as the money was being used properly.

Although many students were in attendance at the board meeting, none of them spoke during public comments.

The only person to speak against the increase in tuition was Alfonso Valenzuela, who is a member of C-FAIRR, a community watchdog group that has been critical of the college and the governing board.

“Imagine what students are thinking when deciding about attending Pima, when there is a strong possibility they will not be able to afford tuition or receive financial aid,” he said.

Board member Scott Stewart supported the increase and said he would propose a $10 rise to tuition, but knew the board “wouldn’t have the stomach for it.”

Board member Marty Cortez approved of the increase as well, although she lamented the rising costs in education. She suggested the college attempt to freeze tuition for two years so students would know exactly how much they would be paying when they start at PCC.

Sylvia Lee, the newest member of the board, voted against raising tuition in 2013, but supported the measure this year because she feels the college is “back on the right path.”

The only member to vote against the measure was board chair David Longoria, who did not give a reason for his disapproval.

According to a study conducted by Economic Modeling Specialist Inc., for every dollar students invest in Pima, they receive a cumulative $5.30 in higher future income over the course of their working careers.

The study also said the accumulated credits achieved by former PCC students over the past three decades translated to $887.3 million in added regional income in 2009-10 due to the higher earnings of students and increased productivity of businesses.

AZTEC PRESS EDITORIAL: State must reinvest in college education

AZTEC PRESS EDITORIAL: State must reinvest in college education

The recent decision by Pima Community College leaders to raise tuition has brought the soaring costs of higher education back into our collective consciousness.

As the price of everything from food and gas to clothing continues to rise, an extra $5 per credit hour for classes will take another bite out of college students’ wallets.

Who is ultimately responsible for the increasing price of trying to better oneself via education?

The easy answer: the Arizona legislature and Gov. Jan Brewer.

Brewer has overseen what the Washington Post calls “the most draconian cuts to state college and university budgets in the nation” in her quest to lower the state budget.

While she achieved that goal, students and others with little or no income have paid the price.

Arizona has cut its state spending per student in half since 2008, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

PCC has seen its share of the budget provided by the state dwindle from 15 percent to a mere 5 percent.

Now that the economy is supposedly recovering, state government should bring an end to austerity measures and reinvest in colleges and the people who benefit from them.

Numerous studies have proven that funds spent on higher education translate to an enormous cost-benefit. That means overall the money will be well spent, unlike many other projects around Tucson that have become money-pits over the years.

Community colleges are famous for advancing the local area. Increased investment by the state would allow Pima to revitalize Tucson through programs currently in danger of falling behind global standards.

Institutions would be able to hire more top-level talent and upgrade the quality of teaching if wages for instructors were more competitive and incentives were available for greater achievement.

Students who are already working long hours in conjunction with school, stretching their financial aid or living with their parents to save money should not be expected to pay for technological advances or salary increases.

The state needs to roll back education cuts and reinvest in the future of Arizona. The flow of taxpayer money to institutions of higher learning must be restored.

Written on behalf of the Aztec Press Editorial Board by Editor-in-Chief Andrew Paxton. The Editorial Board can be reached for comment at aztecpress@pima.edu.

PCC tuition increasing by $5 per credit

PCC tuition increasing by $5 per credit

By ANDREW PAXTON

Pima Community College students will pay more for classes next semester, after the college’s governing board voted to increase tuition during its March 12 meeting.

The board members heard from administrators, students and community members before voting 4-1 to raise tuition by $5 per credit hour for in-state students.

David Bea, PCC’s head of finances, detailed budget shortfalls and explained why the increases were required.

According to Bea, the need to increase tuition mostly arises from a lack of state funding, an opinion that was echoed by Chancellor Lee Lambert.

“Nobody wants to raise tuition,” Lambert said. “The state has walked away from its commitment to higher education, and especially to community colleges.”

Student government representative Aaron Dinius told the board they would support a tuition increase as long as the money was being used to help students.

Although many students were in the audience, none addressed the board during public comment.

Board chair David Longoria voted against the increase. He did not say why he opposed the higher tuition rate.

College board increases tuition

College board increases tuition

By ANDREW PAXTON

Logo---Page-1-NewsPima Community College’s governing board voted to raise tuition during their March 20 meeting.

The board decided, by a 3-2 vote, to raise in-state tuition by $2 per unit and increase both student service and technology fees by 50 cents.

PCC will also eliminate the current out-of-state tuition discount available to nonresidents taking less than seven units per semester.

Starting in the fall, nonresident students taking fewer than seven credits per term will have to pay $319 per unit, instead of the $106 per unit rate they are currently paying.

“While enrollment will likely drop somewhat as a result of this change, the increase is expected to generate out-of-state additional revenue net of the expected enrollment decline,” Interim Chancellor Suzanne Miles said in her recommendation to the board.

However, Miles said she does not anticipate enrollment numbers would drop significantly, citing a similar change made recently by the Maricopa County Community College District.

Miles suggested three options for the board to consider.

The second proposal would have raised tuition rates by $3 per unit and increased student service and technology fees by 50 cents, but would not have eliminated the nonresident discount.

The final proposal would have raised tuition by $4 per unit and increased student service fees by 50 cents. Technology fees and the nonresident discount would not have been affected.

Board members also had the option to pick and chose elements from all three proposals and create a fourth rate increase suggestion.

Miles listed contractual obligations, facility maintenance, increases in employee health care and higher utility costs as reasons for the need to increase tuition rates.

Each $1 increase to in-state tuition represents approximately $600,000 in total revenue, according to figures released by the school.

The tuition rate increase adopted by the board would generate approximately $1.8 million, according to David Bea, the college’s finance administrator.

Pima currently has the third-lowest tuition for community colleges in Arizona. Even after the $2 per unit increase, PCC is projected to remain third-cheapest, according to Bea.

Arizona’s three public universities are also considering tuition increases. The University of Arizona and Arizona State University are seeking 3 percent tuition hikes, and Northern Arizona University is contemplating a 5 percent jump.

The Arizona Board of Regents is expected to set tuition and fees for the three universities in early April.

Aztec Press feedback

Aztec Press feedback

Thank you, softball team!

Recently, my family in Clifton went through a traumatic experience. My high school freshman daughter, Julia, was injured during a softball game. She was hospitalized at Tucson’s University Hospital with a punctured spleen and lacerated kidney after being cleated while sliding to third base during a high school softball game.

Her hospital stay was difficult. She was in constant pain and was constantly poked and prodded, not to mention being so far away from home, friends and family.

After the fourth grueling day of a five-day stay, a ray of sunshine came to her room in the form of three Pima Community College softball players and one amazing coach!

These four wonderful ladies took time out of their busy schedules to visit my daughter and bring her a signed team softball and team T-shirt. I don’t think they realize the effect this visit had on my daughter, and on us as well!

I would like to thank these awesome ladies for their selfless act of kindness to a teenager who really needed to believe that there are angels among us!

Rebekah Quiroz, Jordan Trujillo, Mercedes Garcia and Vanessa Arandules: Thank you from our whole hearts for taking the time to make our daughter’s day, and making her hospital stay a little less stressful.

There’s just one small problem. She and her older sister, who also plays softball, are in constant battle for the team T-shirt! LoL

Jesse, Janet and Julia Chavarria

Clifton, AZ (Home of the Fighting Trojans)

Another PCC tuition increase?

I read your article, “PCC eyes new round of cost-cutting steps” [Issue 3.] Another PCC tuition increase? When was the last time we had one, last year?

I’m a housewife with two children pursuing a degree in ECS, but this goal seems more out of my reach every day.

I’m considering quitting school altogether and just looking for a full-time job. A degree doesn’t seem worthy for a job and I can’t just work to pay school. It’s not like a few years ago. Too many cons to become a professional.

Financial aid is not of help for me. They want me to do full-time school, and I need to work, take care of the house, the kids and other activities.

I really hope we do not have another raise in tuition. Not everybody qualifies and gets financial aid for school studies.

Mary Spears

PCC student

Arizona universities propose major tuition increases

Arizona universities propose major tuition increases

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.”