PHOENIX — Students at Arizona’s three state universities will have to pay — or borrow — at least $2,000 a year to get an education under terms of legislation approved by a House panel today.
Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, said students should have some “skin in the game.” He said students will take their schooling more seriously and be less likely to drop out if they have made an investment.
He said $2,000 out of $9,000 annual tuition is not that big a deal. Even with books and supplies, Kavanagh said that adds only another $1,500 a year.
Kavanagh said even if students have to borrow that $14,000 over four years, that is a small price given that college grads earning anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million more over their lifetimes than those who do not have a higher education.
The vote came despite objections from students who said there are expenses beyond tuition that need to be taken into account. Room and board aside, they said they are forced to pay for gasoline, insurance and parking.
That argument did not impress Rep. Michele Ugenti, R-Scottsdale.
“Welcome to life,” she told the students.
As approved by the Appropriations Committee, HB 2675 does have some exceptions.
Student athletes would not have to come up with the $2,000. And schools could offer scholarships covering that last $2,000 to no more than 5 percent of students based on academic merit.
And outside financial aid — that which does not get processed through the universities — could also be used to make up that $2,000.
Kavanagh also promised to alter the measure when it goes to the full House to say that the requirement to pay at least part of their tuition would not apply to those who cannot live at home and have expenses for housing and meals.
But he said those living at home should not get a free ride.
How many students would be affected remains unclear.
A study done by the Arizona Board of Regents for the 2010 school year found that 48 percent of students paid no tuition at all. But ASU officials said preliminary estimates for the current year put that figure at closer to 24%.