A bill is advancing through the Arizona legislature that would require all students to pay a minimum of $2,000 tuition to attend public university in the state. Approximately one-quarter of students pay nothing in tuition after qualifying for need-based state and federal aid.
Some lawmakers think this figure is simply too high. The sponsor of the bill, State Rep. John Kavanagh (R), thinks free tuition is a leading cause of high college dropout rates in the state. He argues that students who have invested their own money have a greater incentive not to dropout.
“Not everyone, but some people take things they get for free less seriously,” Kavanagh said.
House Bill 2675, was introduced after one study found “nearly half “of all students qualified to pay no tuition from 2009-10. Christine Thompson of the Arizona Board of Regents calls that year an “anomaly.” “Since then, tuition has gone up. The most current figure is closer to 25 percent,” she says.
At the committee hearing nearly 100 students showed up to oppose the bill, saying the $2,000 minimum would make it harder for them to complete their degree. Republican Representative Michelle Ugenti replied to them saying, “Welcome to life.”
The bill passed through committee with a 7-6 vote.