Tuition Rates Make Education a Challenge


Kevin Abke, Cactus Writer

Students know the value of having an education.  We are all here for the basic reason of improving our employment options.  Being able to afford that education causes a great deal of additional stress for students.  Trying to understand how universities charge for tuition is very challenging.

It is no doubt that a community college education is a financially wise choice when it comes to making an education affordable.  Students who attend community college first have a higher chance of attending a university and graduating with a degree.

The tuition rates across the country are rising.  This is not news to anyone.  Arizona State University increased their tuition for residents to over $702 per credit hour.   University of Arizona costs up to $733 per credit.

Ask any university website what the tuition is, and you will be on a very complicated mission to get a straight answer because of various fees and progressive rates.

The difficulty in understanding tuition rates lies in the fact that universities often promote full-time attendance.  Both Arizona universities cap the tuition rate at 7 credits regardless of how many more credits you take in the semester.  If a part-time student were to take 1 class of 3 credits, the tuition and fees would be about $3000.  A student taking 12-16 credits would only pay for 7 credit hours, which is about $9000 with fees.  Because of this tuition cap, students get a greater value for taking more credits.  If a student can handle the course load of homework.

Things become even more confusing when you learn that the rates are different depending on your educational program.  Many programs have additional fees, and it becomes difficult to get a straight answer to the question: how much will school cost me?

The problem gets worse.  After you spend 4 years in college, your student loan debt can stack up fast.  According to the average graduate of the class of 2016 had at least $37,000 in student debt.

It may be a good idea to compare the cost of school in Arizona to other states.  For example, tuition at the University of Texas is about 50% less than rates of the lowest schools in Arizona.  A teaching student that graduates from the University of Texas will also receive a higher paying job upon graduation.  According to starting salary for a teacher in Arizona is $31,000 on average compared to Texas’ $38,000.  The University of Nebraska’s tuition cost is even lower.  So why would a student choose to attend a school here in Arizona when they can get a higher paying job at a lower cost of tuition somewhere else?

In Arizona, the state legislature continues to cut funding for education to save money in the overall budget.  The state ranks very low in teacher pay from kindergarten through college.  The rationale behind the tuition increases is that the state is not providing the financial means to pay for the rising operating costs of colleges and universities.

The government apparently does not understand how good communities are built.  When the community has a good education policy, the community responds in the form of lower crime rates, better property values, and a stable economy.