A bill in the Arizona legislature would bar the state’s university system from providing scholarships that reduced out-of-pocket tuition to less than $2000 a year.
Republican John Kavanaugh says that keeping tuition low creates “perverse incentives” for students to enroll in college. His bill, which has 24 co-sponsors in Arizona’s 60-member House of Representatives, would restrict all grants, scholarships, and awards administered by the university, even those funded by private donors.
Students on full academic scholarships would be exempted from the regulation, as would those on athletic scholarships. Asked why athletes were exempt, Kavanaugh said “they contribute to school spirit, and those on football and basketball teams also generate a lot of extra revenue.”
The athletic and academic loopholes, of course, mean that the bill’s largest impact would be on need-based aid.
February 22 Update | The tuition bill, HB 2675, has just been approved by the Appropriations Committee of the Arizona House of Representatives in what Anne Ryman of the Arizona Republic described as a “narrow” vote. On Twitter, Ms. Ryman described exchanges between committeemembers and students testifying against the bill as “heated,” giving the following example:
University of Arizona student James Allen: “You’re making it harder to achieve a higher education degree.”
Representative Michelle Ugenti: “Welcome to life.”