We respect that passing the state budget is an exercise in managing competing priorities that involves give and take. While we will continue to advocate for a reliable annual funding formula for resident students attending Arizona’s public universities because we believe that is the right way to manage this important state asset, we thank Governor Ducey and legislative leadership for the one-time, $35 million FY 2020 investment in higher education.
In addition, ASU has already made an institutional commitment to fund the Arizona Teachers Academy and so we welcome the state’s investment of $15 million to help develop the depth and breadth of teachers that Arizona families need in this vitally important profession. It is a wise and meaningful use of state revenue that will provide a return on investment over the years ahead.
Our enthusiasm about progress on these fronts is dampened, however, by the legislature’s continued practice of sweeping millions of tuition dollars to subsidize the health plan for state employees. The idea of using student tuition money to bolster funding for health insurance for workers employed by the state defies explanation and the university strongly objects to this tactic.
Arizona State University will continue its efforts on all fronts, leveraging all of its assets to their maximum, to ensure that every student who desires and qualifies for a college education is included. While the investment from the state of Arizona has, over the past decade and longer, become a smaller percentage of what is required to fund students from Arizona attending public universities, it is nevertheless a very important part. We thank state leaders for their commitment in this year’s budget and we look forward to continuing to work with the Governor, legislators and the Arizona Board of Regents to deliver the highest quality of education at an affordable and accessible price point.