Presentation to House Government and Higher Education Committee
During a recent presentation to the House of Representatives Committee on Government and Higher Education, UA President Ann Weaver Hart urged legislators to adopt the new funding model proposed by the Arizona Board of Regents, which calls for the state to eventually cover half of the cost of educating Arizona's resident students.
Gov. Doug Ducey has given his approval for the model and included an additional $8 million for higher education in his budget request, beginning the gradual ascent to the cost share. The state currently funds about 32 percent of the cost to educate one in-state resident.
Hart was accompanied by the presidents of ASU and NAU, as well as Eileen Klein, president of the Arizona Board of Regents. Klein described the state of Arizona's higher education enterprise, noting that Arizona's three state universities contribute $11.2 billion annually to the state economy. She reminded legislators that Arizona's economy is diversifying, and that by 2018 it is expected that 75 percent of jobs in the state will require some form of postsecondary education.
To meet the needs of the state, Klein said that ABOR has zeroed in on performance, accountability, and transparency among the universities to deliver the best quality education to prepare students for the job market.
The three university presidents were united in the message that the state needs to adopt the new funding model to “Fund Arizona's Students,” the motto adopted by proponents of the proposal.
Veterinary Medicine Program
Shane Burgess, dean of the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, visited the state last week to speak with lawmakers about the UA's new veterinary medicine program. Along with UA alumni and agriculture industry partners, Burgess met with more than a dozen lawmakers to describe the value of the new program and why state investment is critical.
The UA is requesting $8 million for one-time capital improvement funding from the state for the Oro Valley facilities in which the program will be housed.
The first Wildcat Wednesday of this legislative session was held last week. State Relations, in partnership with the Alumni Association, led a group of alumni around the Legislature for individual meetings with lawmakers, during which they expressed their support for the ABOR legislative agenda. The alumni asked lawmakers to restore funding for the state universities, which experienced a $99 million cut in 2015. ABOR is seeking $32 million based on the new resident-student funding model.
Alumni also asked legislators to support the adoption of HB 2271, which would authorize ABOR to issue commercial paper and obtain commercial lines of credit.
To attend a Wildcat Wednesday event, visit arizonaalumni.com/wildcatwednesdays.
Bills of Interest
HB 2033 – Post-9/11 Veteran Education Relief Fund
Establishes a fund to provide financial assistance for tuition for military veterans at any university under the jurisdiction of ABOR. The fund will solicit private donations, grants, bequests and other money, and will be administered by the Department of Veteran Services.
Passed out of the House of Representatives with a vote of 56-0 with four not voting. It was moved to the Senate on Feb. 5 and awaits committee assignment.
HB 2072 – Firearms; University; College; Campus
Prohibits the chief administrator or governing body of a public university or community college from adopting a policy or rule that restricts a faculty member or student from carrying or transporting a firearm on campus as long as they possess a permit to carry a concealed weapon, and are registered with the institution's administration as being armed and possessing a permit to carry.
Awaits House Judiciary Committee review.
HB 2271 – Universities; Commercial Paper
Authorizes ABOR to issue commercial paper and obtain commercial lines of credit.
Passed out of the House Rules Committee with a vote of 7-0 with two not voting. It was retained on the Committee of the Whole calendar and awaits votes on the House Floor.
HB 2338 – Educational institutions; Firearms; Rights-of-way
Prohibits a governing board of an educational institution from adopting or enforcing any policy that prohibits a person from lawfully carrying a concealed weapon in their vehicle on a public right-of-way.
Awaits House Judiciary Committee review.