- Associated Press - Saturday, April 18, 2020

PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona’s three state universities have announced tuition proposals for the 2020-2021 academic year, proposing increases for some students but holding steady for others while waiting to decide in still other categories.

Separate statements released Friday by the presidents of the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University cited changing and uncertain circumstances for their institutions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Arizona Board of Regents, which oversees the university system said in a separate statement that it wasn’t increasing tuition rates for Arizona residents “at this time.”

The regents plan an April 27 virtual public hearing on the universities’ tuition proposals, and the board is expected to vote on the proposals during a livestreamed meeting on May 7.

The University of Arizona proposed no increase for new resident and nonresident undergraduates and said returning undergraduates wouldn’t see an increase.

“We know our incoming students’ and their families’ finances have been severely impacted by the pandemic, and we’re proposing no increases for incoming undergraduate and graduate students this year. We want them to know they come first,” President Robert Robbins said.

However, changes proposed by Robbins include higher tuition for some graduate students, including first-year Arizona residents attending the medical colleges in Phoenix and Tucson.

The university said Friday it was implementing furloughs and pay cuts for most of its employees as a result of economic strains brought on by the coronavirus outbreak.

ASU President Michael Crow said university officials continued to assess circumstances, including state and federal funding, and had no proposal so far to raise tuition for on-campus undergraduate or graduate students who are Arizona residents.

He said the university would “provide more clarity” on proposed tuition rates for those students as soon as possible but in the meantime he promised that any proposal to increase tuition for Arizona residents would be “as close to zero as possible” and not exceed 3%.

However, Crow asked the regents to give the university greater flexibility on tuition and fees for non-resident and international students and to approve a cap on increases of up to 5% each of the next three years. Those actual rates would be determined later, he said.

Crow also said tuition for online students would be proposed later, with caps of 3% and 5% for increases for returning resident and non-resident students, respectively.

Northern Arizona University President Rita Hartung Cheng said NAU wasn’t yet yet proposing 2020-2021 tuition rates for Arizona residents “in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty of the current economic environment.”

However, non-resident incoming undergraduate tuition would be 5% higher under NAU’s proposal.

Cheng also proposed a 5% tuition increase for non-resident graduate students at the main Flagstaff campus and satellite sites but no change for online graduate students..

“We understand that in these challenging times, many of our students are facing difficult financial circumstances, and we recognize the value placed on pursuing a degree to improve their future,” Cheng said.

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