Thursday, January 17, 2008

Arizona Legislature Eyes Gutting Education

Tucson, Arizona. As described in the Star's Howard Fisher 1/10/2008 piece, Republican John Kavanagh thinks state law should require universities to charge 40 percent of the institution's tuition to students regardless of financial need.

From the January 10 article:

Overall, a proposal by Pearce and Sen. Bob Burns, R-Peoria, his Senate counterpart, would immediately cut spending by more than $630 million to balance what they say is a $970 million deficit.

How much of the $630 million is to come from universities? $110 million. $50M from ASU, $44M from the U of A, and $16M from NAU. Dr. Robert Shelton is the president of the U of A.

Shelton all but told lawmakers cutting the universities that much can't be done. He said the new semester begins next week. And canceling classes — the major cost of running the university — would deny many the courses they need, meaning they could not graduate in four years.

"Frankly, I have no solution at the moment," he said.

I know the feeling.

Michael Crow, his counterpart at ASU, said the only way he could find that kind of cash immediately would be to sell off some vacant land his school owns. But he said dumping property to avoid cutting expenses is a one-time solution.

Crow noted the plan by Burns and Pearce would not restore the cuts next budget year. He said that could mean capping enrollment or even closing entire colleges within the university.

And NAU's John Haeger said the cut the lawmakers want him to absorb is the equivalent of wiping out his school's education and business schools.

Haeger also questioned how much spending he legally could cut. For example, he said NAU has a contract with Yuma Regional Medical Center for its new program to turn out nurses with baccalaureate degrees.

Even if you are dirt poor with a single parent making $12K a year at Burger King, you need to cough up 40 percent of the tuition or you can kiss education good-bye and take your parent's place making Whoppers.

When TREO slaughtered SAIAT's funding, I made a choice to work with a different type of individual. I now work with great people committed to making a difference for humanity and contributing to the common good of everyone, individuals I can look up to, and I do. Well, two of them contributed to a piece published in the Arizona Star today addressing this insanity. I know both of them. Jeff and John, distinguished scholars and published experts, unlike some of the goons that get elected or run economic development organizations, know what they are talking about. From their piece:

As tuition and fees have increased steadily, the incomes of the lowest-paid members of our society have not. But tuition and fees are not even the most pressing costs facing low-income students. By foregoing college and entering the full-time work force, low-income students could make immediate contributions to help lift their siblings and parents out of poverty. These foregone earnings weigh heavily on the minds of low-income students as they consider whether or not to enroll in college. This is something that higher income students never have to contemplate.

To increase the extremely low enrollment rates of low-income students, federal, state and institutional aid policies should reduce the costs of college attendance for these students. But Kavanagh's proposed policy, which requires students from families with the lowest incomes to pay more than what established federal financial aid guidelines indicate that they should pay, would add to the real costs these students face.

The problem is not that low-income students bear too few costs to value their education as Kavanagh asserts, the real problem is that they face too many.

During the 1960s President Lyndon Johnson declared the War on Poverty and passed the Higher Education Act of 1965 that expanded opportunity for millions of Americans and provided us the intellectual infrastructure to establish the lead in science, technology, and productivity to produce a prosperous middle class.

Now we have a GOP that eschews the War on Poverty, preferring to declare war on the poor.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here here! Well said and well done.

I will refrain from venting on my colleague up at Scottsdale Community College and State Legislator, Kavanagh. Except to say that he thinks everyone should go to school like he did. A typical arrogant belief that if he did it the hard way, so should everyone else...except the very rich whose children go to school for free and don't have to work as he did.

All that non-venting aside (haha), as a higher education insider, I can only tell you that the GOP policy flies in the face of economic development and the growth they pursue to grow us into state revenues. Its like cutting off both arms of a person who is expected to drive a semi-truck.

The cuts they propose, and midyear recissions too, will SERIOUSLY harm higher ed in this state. Many excellent faculty and staff will leave...I may be one...morale on campus is dismal.

It is so hard to work your tail off, plan, and serve your students and then to turn around and get kick down again every time we just start to stand.

Last, I don't want to hear a damn thing about tuition until some of you start standing up and doing what is right to fund our state universities. The inaction, the passivity, and the fear of taxes is causing us to essentially make what is a public good a private one.

If we have to find a way to survive, I fear we are only left with charging out customers.

Dont blame us...don't blame ABOR...blame yourselves...each time you write that tuition check.

1/17/2008 5:43 PM  
Blogger x4mr said...

The locals gutted SAIAT and think its customers can go elsewhere. WRONG.

Educational costs equal the price plus a subsidy. Minus the subsidy, the cost climbs to what the customer cannot afford. The customer will do without.

At PCC and U of A, same thing. They cut appropriations and force higher tuition. Now Kavanagh wants to cut aid to the poor. If he gets his way, they drop out. They will not "appreciate their degree more."

They won't have one.

Our officials take $1 from that which generates $10. Local pencil heads stole $1/4M from SAIAT. Over 1400 Tucsonans/yr must now drive to Phoenix for a test only SAIAT offered. What does 1400 round trips to Phoenix cost? That's tipadaberg. TREO cost this town over $2M/year by taking that money. 10,000 workers per year now do without.

At both local and state level, Arizona leadership apparently despises education and training. Perhaps it occurs as a threat. An educated electorate would vote them out of office.

1/17/2008 9:38 PM  
Blogger AZW88 said...

"Arizona Legislature Eyes Gutting Education"

Sadly, this is not news, as this headline could be written EVERY YEAR.

I have a dream that one day the voters of this state will elect officials that actually SUPPORT public education to EVERY post, especially the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

1/27/2008 2:15 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home