ASU President Slams Ducey's Proposed Cuts to Higher-Education Funding

ASU President Slams Ducey's Proposed Cuts to Higher-Education Funding
ASU

Arizona State University president Michael Crow released a public statement slamming Governor Doug Ducey's proposed cuts to higher-education funding.

Ducey was elected on a promise to get the state in better financial shape, and more than half of the money in budget cuts Ducey is proposing comes from higher education, which isn't making Crow happy.

"As presented, the Governor's recommendation for state investment in higher education signals to the state and the nation that higher education is a low priority in Arizona," Crow's statement says, later adding, "In other words, Governor Ducey has recommended that Arizona's public universities again shoulder the primary responsibility for balancing the state budget."

See also: -Hundreds Rally Against K-12 Education Budget Cuts at Arizona Capitol

Ducey's spokesman did not immediately respond to a call and e-mail from New Times requesting comment.

Ducey's budget proposal includes about $75 million in cuts to university funding, more than $40 million of which applies to ASU. The proposed cut for the University of Arizona is $21 million, and a little more than a $13 million cut for Northern Arizona University.

Crow adds that this proposal is particularly unfair to ASU, as he claims Ducey is proposing cuts that are "completely inconsistent with the long process of establishing baseline "parity" of state investment between and among the three state universities."

"Over the years, the enormous reductions in the State of Arizona's investment in higher education have had to be replaced by, among other things, higher tuition (i.e. higher taxes) for our students and their families," Crow says. "While we at ASU are committed to not raising tuition next year for students from Arizona as a result of Governor Ducey's latest round of cuts to higher education, it is certainly time for the State of Arizona to recognize higher education as a priority investment that should be made in human capital to help Arizona, its economy and its people move forward."

(In case you didn't know, the Arizona Constitution says that instruction at the state's educational institutions "shall be as nearly free as possible.")

Read Crow's entire statement below:

Dear Member of the Arizona State University Community:

I am writing to provide you with an update on the Governor's recommendation for state investment in Arizona State University for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2015. I am writing because we have received questions from alums, business leaders, students and parents about what these cuts are and what they mean.

While we all appreciate the difficulties faced by the Governor in setting priorities for state investment, we continue to believe that investment in higher education is one of the most important ways of helping advance our families, our businesses, and our state economy. Accordingly, I'd like to acquaint you with two critical concerns:

1. As presented, the Governor's recommendation for state investment in higher education signals to the state and the nation that higher education is a low priority in Arizona.

2. As presented, the Governor's recommendation for state investment in higher education reverses several major policy decisions that were previously made by the Arizona Board of Regents and the State of Arizona about how state funding for higher education would be allocated. Any reversal of these policy decisions would negatively impact ASU.

Governor Ducey's Recommendation for Reduced Investment in Higher Education

Governor Ducey's recommendation for reduced investment in higher education in Arizona is equal to approximately 58 percent of the total actual budget cuts in state spending he has recommended for the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2015. In other words, Governor Ducey has recommended that Arizona's public universities again shoulder the primary responsibility for balancing the state budget.

State investment in higher education is an investment in economic development. States with higher rates of educated residents report healthier and more productive state economies. Cutting the state investment in higher education does not constitute a state strategy or vision for higher education in Arizona. It is merely a convenient but temporary "fix" for the larger problems not being addressed by the State of Arizona.

Governor Ducey's Recommendation for the Allocation of Cuts in University Investment

The $75 million in cuts to state higher education investment recommended by Governor Ducey have been allocated by the Governor among the universities using a methodology that (a) protects certain programs at the University of Arizona from being cut at the overall recommended level and (b) reduces the state investment in the universities based only upon the number of students enrolled at each university. As a result, the total proposed cut in funding for higher education of $75 million was allocated by Governor Ducey as follows:

ASU $40.3 million

NAU $13.1 million

UA $21 million

Because these cuts to the universities are complicated, I wanted to let you know they are completely inconsistent with the long process of establishing baseline "parity" of state investment between and among the three state universities. And perhaps more importantly, this method of allocating the reductions in state investment in higher education is also completely inconsistent with the principle of investing in higher education based on the performance of each university. If the Governor's method of allocating state investment and reductions in investment is adopted, it will once again lead to major funding disparities between and among the universities and significantly disadvantage Arizona State University.

Conclusion

I hope this information is helpful to you in understanding how the Governor's budget proposal will adversely impact Arizona State University. Over the years, the enormous reductions in the State of Arizona's investment in higher education have had to be replaced by, among other things, higher tuition (i.e. higher taxes) for our students and their families. While we at ASU are committed to not raising tuition next year for students from Arizona as a result of Governor Ducey's latest round of cuts to higher education, it is certainly time for the State of Arizona to recognize higher education as a priority investment that should be made in human capital to help Arizona, its economy and its people move forward.

Michael M. Crow

President

Arizona State University

Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX. Follow Matthew Hendley at @MatthewHendley.


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