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Report: Arizona continues to trail other states in higher-ed support | News – Tucson, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona 2021-02-22 09:00:00 –

Washington-Arizona remains one of the worst states in the United States when it comes to funding higher education and continues to work on significant budget cuts during the recession.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities surveyed state funding from the time of the Great Depression in 2008 to 2019, just before the COVID-19 pandemic.

After adjusting for inflation, Arizona spending per student in the state fell by 54.3%, the largest decline in all 50 states. Louisiana came in second, with inflation-adjusted state support down 37.7%.

Arizona also has the second highest rate of increase in tuition fees during the period, with a 78% increase following Louisiana’s 96.8%. However, the increase in Arizona was the largest in real dollars, rising $ 5,224 over 11 years, with the average number of Arizona students at all public four-year colleges at $ 11,921.

David Rougen, director of the Arizona Center for Economic Progress, said the state’s budget priorities were distorted.

“Arizona actually imprisons people with more money than it provides to all three state universities each year to the state corrections bureau,” Lujan said in a conference call. Report..

Calls for comment from Governor Doug Ducey and the Arizona Board of Directors were not immediately returned.

The Board provided some relief to Arizona students last year when it announced that there would be no increase in tuition fees for Arizona residents during the year.

To statement At the time, the board said Regent said, “During the economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak, the president is a resident to keep students accessible to higher education at public universities in Arizona. Did not pursue an increase in tuition fees. “

According to the Census Bureau, the pandemic had a direct impact on student planning. Household pulse Survey. In late December, it was reported that 83.9% of Arizona households, or about 1.1 million people, said they had changed or canceled their college plans for the next fall semester.

The Center reports that Arizona is not alone in the college funding struggle. Funding for higher education has fallen by $ 3.4 billion nationwide since 2008. When COVID-19 hit last year, state funding was still below 2008 levels.

Legende pointed out a 30-year tax cut as part of the problem.

“The Arizona Capitol has a tax cut every year, but it has been cut once since 1990,” he said. “This reduced the revenues of the states that fund public universities and community colleges, so when the Great Depression hit … Arizona was less prepared than most other states.”

Victoria Jackson, senior policy analyst for state fiscal policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said, “When the state cuts funding for higher education, public universities pass on the costs to students in the form of higher education.” ..

“In fact, in 2019, more than 50% of our income came from tuition fees,” said Jackson.

National tuition fees increased by an average of $ 2,576 at public four-year colleges and $ 1,098 at community colleges, according to the report.

It makes many policy recommendations to address these issues, suggesting that state policymakers will increase taxes on high-income households to generate income and increase needs-based assistance to low-income students. doing.

“Arizona lawmakers have a real opportunity to invest in community colleges and universities,” Lujan said. “Unfortunately, the state legislature didn’t really want to do that this year.”



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