Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Campbell calls for increased financial aid and lower tuition costs

Campbell calls for increased financial aid and lower tuition costs

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 24), said decisions to cut per-student spending at universities while hiking tuition rates are unacceptable and must be reversed.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently reported that Arizona is one of two states in the country that has cut higher education spending per student in half during the past five years. The center also reported that Arizona increased tuition during that same time period by 78 percent - more than any other state in the nation. 

It seems the governor, the Arizona Board of Regents and the Republicans in the Legislature have done all they can to limit access to higher education over the past several years,” Campbell said. “How can they claim to support higher education when they have cut per-student spending and continue to increase tuition?  The universities have done everything they can to ensure students have access to a quality higher education, but they can only do so much.  We must have a new vision to move higher education forward in Arizona.”

Campbell added that higher education is a crucial component to economic recovery and stability.

“We have to ensure that our students are prepared to participate in an increasingly global economy,” Campbell said. “We should be finding ways to make education more affordable and more accessible. House Democrats have already proposed a budget that includes $11 million in financial aid for students in fiscal year 2014. The Republicans are pretending this problem does not exist. Meanwhile, students and their families are struggling to find ways to pay for school.”

This year, Campbell introduced a bill, HB 2602, that would have established a statewide system similar to the Northern Arizona University pledge system that allows a freshman entering the university to pay the same tuition for four years.

“Students and their families should be able to estimate how much school is going to cost. Tuition shouldn’t be a moving target. My bill didn’t even get a hearing,” Campbell said. “How serious is the Tea Party about supporting education? If actions speak louder than words, then it is clear that higher education will continue to be seriously jeopardized in this state.  It is time to rethink how we manage and support our universities and students.”

To see the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report, go to http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3927.


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