FLAGSTAFF - The University of Arizona is asking the state for about 19 percent more money next year.
The requested amount, $314.3 million, is similar to the funding provided by the state in fiscal year 2004.
Over the past five years, the state has cut one-third of its funds to the UA. The UA doubled tuition and cut hundreds of jobs during that time.
The UA may avoid another tuition increase if the state can afford to fund the budget increase, said Eugene Sander, the UA's interim president.
The Arizona Board of Regents approved the budget request on Thursday. The request next goes to the governor and the state Legislature.
The UA is asking for:
• $29 million to build up to eight classrooms with capacity for 250 to 600 students each.
• $14.5 million to continue the growth of the Phoenix medical school.
• $4.5 million to pay for new student retention programs.
• $2.6 million to expand community college partnership programs.
Except for the medical school funds, those are one-time expenses.
The UA isn't asking for any money for enrollment growth because the state's enrollment growth formula hasn't been funded for three years, adding up to a loss of $35 million for the UA.
Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, has the opposite idea for university funding. He said the state may be able to afford enrollment growth funding next year, but the state shouldn't support one-time spending.
Ultimately, the board wants to get rid of the enrollment-based funding model in favor of performance-based funding. But the board delayed implementation until 2014.
In an exercise to see what the performance funding formula could have looked like for fiscal year 2013, the UA performance payout would have been $16.5 million.
ASU, NAU requests
Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University each are asking for 15 to 16 percent more money from the state.
The budget requests for those two schools include the first step in a five-year plan to bring their per-student funding levels up to the amount given to the UA (after accounting for the UA's unique mission).
ASU is asking for about $12 million for each of the next five years, and NAU is asking for about $3 million for each of the next five years.
Regent Rick Myers described the plan as a "catch up" needed as a result of unfunded enrollment surges at ASU and NAU.
But the plan is viewed by some regents as politically risky.
Regent Dennis DeConcini voted against the budget requests for that reason. He said he is concerned the Legislature could cut the UA's funding down to the lowest common denominator instead of raising the funding for the other two schools.
On StarNet: Read Becky Pallack's blog on higher education in Tucson at go.azstarnet.com/campuscorrespondent
UA state funding
FY 07-08 $430.9
FY 08-09 $363.2
FY 09-10 $344.6
FY 10-11 $344.6
FY 11-12 $263.7
FY 12-13 $314.3 requested
Source: Arizona Board of Regents. In millions. Unadjusted.
Howard Fischer of Capitol Media Services contributed to this story. Contact reporter Becky Pallack at email@example.com or 807-8012.