April 10, 2009

NAU to ask for $175-per-semester tuition surcharge

Northern Arizona University has proposed a tuition surcharge of $175 a semester—$350 a year—beginning in the fall, a mid-cycle adjustment necessitated by the university's budget situation, NAU President John Haeger announced today.

Students who joined NAU's four-year guaranteed tuition program in fall '08 will not be affected by the surcharge.

"We moderated the request to maintain the quality of our programs while keeping our students' financial situations in mind," Haeger said. The president met with NAU student leaders prior to submitting the request and will continue to meet with students as the process continues.

In addition to the tuition surcharge, NAU has proposed a technology fee increase from $3 per unit to $6 per unit or a maximum of $72 per semester for students taking 12 or more hours.

To see the proposed new tuition rates, click here.

Arizona's current budget crisis has forced reductions throughout the state's university system. NAU's budget was reduced by $21.3 million in FY2009.

Additionally, NAU experienced the highest percentage enrollment growth in the system in fall 2008 and has grown by over 11 percent in FY08 and FY09.

"Yet we received no additional state funding for increased enrollment," Haeger said. "These students, in normal budget years, would have been supported by $16 million of new enrollment growth money."

The university has taken several steps to meet legislative budget reductions. More than 150 positions have been left unfilled either through layoffs or attrition, and some academic departments and programs have been restructured to be made more efficient.

The university closed the Center for High Altitude Training and the Social Research Lab. Computer labs in residence halls are being closed, and new software and hardware licensing and support costs are being delayed. The university also stopped development of its new occupational therapy and physician's assistant programs. In addition, furloughs were instituted this year for the president, vice presidents and academic deans. A furlough program for all university employees is planned for next year.

In addition to the surcharge request, the university also is proposing to institute three program fees. Juniors and seniors in nursing and dental hygiene would pay an $800 annual program fee to help offset the high cost of their majors. Students in the doctor of physical therapy program would pay an $1,800 annual fee.

The proposed mid-cycle adjustment comes after the Arizona Board of Regents set fall 2009 tuition rates in December. Haeger explained that the tuition and fee request is being introduced because of budget reductions, the lack of enrollment-growth funding and NAU's unknown share of the one-time federal stimulus funds for the state's public education system.

A statewide interactive TV hearing is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, April 20, to hear comments regarding tuition and fee proposals for students at NAU, Arizona State University and the University of Arizona for academic year 2009-10.

NAU locations for the hearings are: in Flagstaff, Adel Mathematics building, room 137; NAU-Yuma, Academic Complex, room AC 111.

Those who cannot attend the hearing can send their comments via e-mail to Stella Galaviz, Arizona Board of Regents, at (stella.galaviz@azregents.edu), by regular mail, at 2020 N. Central Ave., Suite 230, Phoenix, AZ 85004, or by fax at (602) 229-2555. All comments received before April 28 will be shared with the regents in advance of the April 30 ABOR meeting. The regents are expected to vote on the tuition surcharge at their April 30-May 1 meeting in Tucson.