Arizona Leads the Nation in Higher-Education Funding Cuts and Tuition Increases

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Center on Budget and Policy Priorities


Arizona is leading the nation in both cuts to higher-education funding and increases in tuition costs since 2008.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities looked at pre-recession levels of higher-ed funding and tuition costs in all 50 states. Though a vast majority of states made both funding cuts and tuition increases, the cuts and increases were the most drastic in Arizona.

See also:
-From 2011: Arizona's Public Universities Plan All-Time High Tuition

According to this analysis, only two states, Alaska and North Dakota, are currently funding higher education at a higher level than they were in 2008 (and yes, that's adjusted for inflation).

For Arizona, the higher-education funding in 2014 is more than 48 percent lower than it was in 2008. In dollars, that's down more than $3,000 in funding per student.

As with any budget, state university systems really had only two options to respond to these cuts -- a combination of cutting spending and increasing tuition.

In Arizona, tuition has gone up more than 80 percent since 2008, which amounts to an increase of nearly $4,500 -- the largest increases in the country.

Despite the huge increase in tuition costs, the state's universities have also made spending cuts.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report cites a statement released by the Arizona Board of Regents back in 2011, when Governor Jan Brewer proposed a $170 million cut to funding the state's three public universities:
State cuts to higher education funding have been exacerbated by rapid enrollment growth. Enrollment has grown 15 percent from FY08 to FY11 and is projected to grow to 19 percent through FY12. As a result of the $230 million in cuts that began in FY08 the University System has eliminated more than 2,100 positions (an 11 percent reduction in workforce); merged, consolidated or disestablished 182 colleges, schools, programs and departments; closed eight extended campuses; delayed degree programs, and has been forced to raise tuition significantly to retain quality and program offerings.
Lately, the university funding in most states has been creeping back.

According to this report, 42 states increased funding for university systems from 2013 to 2014.

The 2014 Arizona state budget includes $28.8 million in new spending for universities, which is estimated to come out to $143 per student -- the 37th-biggest increase of the 50 states.

The 2015 budget just passed last month includes $38.5 million in new funding. Next year's state budgets aren't taken into account in this Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report.

The organization, which has been accused of being left-leaning, writes the following conclusion of all states' choices of funding higher education during the recession:
State policymakers relied overwhelmingly on spending cuts to make up for lost revenues. They could have lessened the need for higher education funding cuts if they had used a more balanced mix of spending cuts and revenue increases to balance their budgets.

To compensate for lost state funding, public colleges have both steeply increased tuition and pared back spending, often in ways that may compromise the quality of the education and jeopardize student outcomes. Now is the time to renew investment in higher education to promote college affordability and quality.

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39 comments
Daniel Gross
Daniel Gross

The Republicans that control the Arizona state legislature are worthless. Not every student wants to attend college out of state.

Robin Denise
Robin Denise

Where's the damn money that's earmarked for education from the casinos and lottery?? Just what we need - more stupid people in this state.

Spike Ferguson
Spike Ferguson

Arizona used to be nice until the wacko Right took over.

dika_wali
dika_wali

 shameful and shocking. remember.... uneducated population tend to be hateful and vote Republican. A well informed people make rational decisions about gov't and role of Gov't. China and India... are competing with us NOW. dont expect AZ republicans to think a bout the future of our children. Their priority is to make easy for you to take your guns to ur doctor's office.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

Of course we do. Arizona is a republican state and the republicans, especially the religious right in the party, don't want an educated populace...


They know that if the populace becomes educated, they will NEVER vote for the idiot republican blowhards again...


Pete Moreno
Pete Moreno

Damn werid city state of the greater phoenix area. god what a chithole.

Angela Salazar
Angela Salazar

Brewer is a dumb bish who thinks it's not that important.

Gracie Rose
Gracie Rose

This is criminal. What really amazes me is the drive to bring more businesses to AZ. Why would a company want to relocate here when we feel education is not a priority? Not only does it make it more difficult to find good employees, but would employees want to relocate here if they cannot get great education for their children?

andymfj
andymfj

Maybe if Brewer and Arpaio had not "misplaced" 90 million dollars, we'd be better off. 

Joe Rollins
Joe Rollins

This entire country has done nothing but stack everything in favor of the rich and corporations. It is a trend that will continue as long as people see billionaires as victims rather than the people who are starving and forced into welfare or crime to get by while their corporate masters raise prices across the board, making food and education a luxury rather than obtainable for all.

Nancy Segal
Nancy Segal

and this is why we do need the higher minimum wage. so people can get out of the fast food places be able to pay their bills and their tuition.

shadeaux
shadeaux

Come on, Arizona has the best education system Republicans are capable of creating. They've been in total control for so long that they can't blame anybody but themselves if there are any problems with the system.


But jut wait..........the lemmings will go to the polls in November and then things will change???

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

Education is the largest part of the State budget, but the part that retirees care about the least, so it's an obvious target for those who care more about votes than the future of the State.

Reggievv
Reggievv

The Arizona legislature's one party dictatorship is solely responsible. They have had a fetish on blocking all new revenue and for tax cuts and credits for their pals and themselves. They criticize the Federal government for picking "winners and losers", yet every session they do it for the Arizona Christian Taliban, for, for-profit schools systems, for the private prison industry, for private schools. They listen to the Koch Brothers funded Goldwater Institute and ignore the average Arizonan's needs. Legislators do not represent their average constituents, but only special interests like the Koch Brothers funded Goldwater Institute. The real engines for economic development in Arizona, the State Universities, and the public schools, are starved. And the one party dictatorship is extremely active in regulating private reproduction decisions, representing gun manufacturers, and worrying about chickens in the back yards. Why do the citizens of this State tolerate this insanity?

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@dika_wali  

An educated population tends not to believe stereotypes about political parties.

It's always been easy to take a gun to a doctor's office.  Why wouldn't it be?


valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Flyer9753  

We see that from the Republicans in Arizona, but it's actually pretty clear that neither party wants an educated populace.   There are alternative election systems that would remove the stranglehold of the two major parties.

 

1959cutter
1959cutter

dummies work for low pay and dont ask ANY questions,that's why

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

If the people supporting themselves via minimum wage jobs were really interested in education, they would have stayed in school.  If their only source of income is a fast food job, they'd qualify for a boatload of federal grants and low interest loans.


valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@shadeaux  

The problem is that too many voters don't care about education as much as they do about other issues, so they don't consider the candidate's voting history on education.


Retirees don't have kids in school, and figure they'll be dead before today's children are unable to compete in the workplace.

Religious zealots send their kids to private schools.

An amazingly large number of morons believe that schools shouldn't get any more money until they improve.

Then there are the other idiots who feel that "school never done me no good".

We need a system that will allow us to elect moderates who care about education, as well as about other issues that the voters actually care about.

 

 

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Reggievv  

You've got some good points in among the hyperbole.

Defunding higher education was a mistake, and I hope they'll correct that quickly.


The real problem, though, isn't a "dictatorship".  It's the election process that favors the extremes in each party.  We need to reform the process to be one of the forms of "instant run-off" elections, in order to give moderates a chance.

That would allow us to elect people who, for example, would favor protecting the rights of gun owners (nothing to do with the manufacturers) while still providing funding for education.

 

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@valleynative  and how do you know they did not stay in school??? Make assumptions much do you?


Don't bother answering, we all know you do.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@valleynative  "If the people supporting themselves via minimum wage jobs were really interested in education, they would have stayed in school.  "


Paid for with that < $10 / hr minimum wage job?


Moron.

SeedyWard
SeedyWard

@valleynative @shadeaux  "Religious zealots send their kids to private schools." End public support for private schools and watch how fast that changes. 

dumbconservative
dumbconservative

@valleynative @Flyer9753You were just on here  implying that you can't use stereotypes to describe political parties, but then you go and stereotype minimum wage earners. Hypocrite much, vn?

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Flyer9753 @valleynative 

You're calling me an out of touch idiot, while implying that the average fast food / minimum wage worker has a degree?

Out of the 3.5 million in the U.S. earning minimum wage or less, only about 280,000 have degrees, and many of them are, as I suggest, taking classes in order to get real jobs.



Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@valleynative @Flyer9753  Then you are an idiot who does not pay attention to facts.


Currently the average age of a fast food/minimum wage worker is in the late 30's.. people with degrees who HAVE to take that job because there are no others available.


Of course people should try, but your assumption is still wrong and entirely off base for the current state of the economy and the work force.


Once again you show how out of touch you are and how wrong you are with your assumptions. 


Congrats, you proved once again you are an idiot.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Flyer9753 @valleynative 

Of course I assume that people earning minimum wage didn't stay in school.  If you ever find yourself stuck in a minimum wage job, you should try to find a way to get more education so you can earn real money, even if you already have some sort of useless degree.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@valleynative "Paid for with that boatload of federal grants and low interest loans "


The "welfare programs" and "handouts" that Repuglykans have gutted?



valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @valleynative 

Paid for with that boatload of federal grants and low interest loans (just like I did, although I also had some scholarships).

You should really read the entire post before reading it.

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