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About the 2018-2019 tuition proposal

Statement from ASU President Michael M. Crow on the 2018-2019 Arizona resident undergraduate tuition proposal

President proposes no increase of tuition or class or academic program fees for resident students

Demand for an Arizona State University education has never been greater and our commitment to Arizona students has never been stronger.

Student success is at an all-time high. Retention and graduation rates for all students – but in particular for Arizona students – are at their highest levels ever.

As we continue to advance our vision of a New American University – an unparalleled focus on the simultaneous pursuit of access, excellence and impact – we proudly open our doors to all qualified Arizona residents. Consider this:

  • This year was the largest freshman class of resident students in the history of ASU or any Arizona university.
  • Half of our Arizona undergraduate resident students are from families earning below the state’s median income.
  • We have solved the financial aid equation: Approximately 84 percent of Arizona undergraduate resident students, spanning every income level, receive need- or merit-based gift aid; our average gift award is approximately $8,300.
  • Arizona ranks fourth in the nation for students graduating with the lowest amount of debt; 40 percent of our resident undergraduate students graduate debt-free.

These data represent years of intense focus on enhancing the performance of the university, including cost control, which has positioned ASU among the most efficient higher education institutions in the country. It costs us substantially less today to educate a student than in 2008 as a result of organizational design changes, technological innovations and an entrepreneurial spirit that runs through the entire university. Our costs are 21 percent below the average of all four-year public research universities nationwide. This is particularly meaningful when you consider that ASU is in the top 16 percent in the world for graduate employability, ahead of Penn State, Georgetown and Michigan State (Source: QS World University Rankings).

Meanwhile, the value of an ASU degree continues to rise. More than 7,000 companies scout ASU student talent every year, and blue chip companies including Apple, Ford Motor Company, Mayo Clinic and Honeywell have designated ASU a “premier university for recruiting.” And, nine out of 10 ASU graduates have received a job offer or are in graduate school within three months of graduation.

These outcomes did not happen overnight. They did not happen as a result of political pressure.

They happened as a result of the high demand for world-class university graduates from ASU and our unwavering commitment to providing the highest quality education possible at the lowest price possible.

Six years ago, I made a promise that for 10 years, resident tuition would not increase more than three percent per year. This is the seventh year of that promise and for the 2018-19 academic year, I am proposing no increase in Arizona resident undergraduate student tuition and no increase in undergraduate class or academic program fees. The university’s continuing focus on efficiency and excellence are to thank for today’s strong financial position in spite of the state’s continued lack of investment in Arizona’s students. (The Associated Students of ASU are proposing a $15 per semester increase for the student health fee that will enable the service hours at the health services center to be extended, provide students the opportunity for increased specialized medical care, allow for implementation of a Telehealth platform and provide the addition of insurance and referral navigators. I support this proposal.)

Strong economies are inextricably linked with an educated workforce and a thriving research university. We are proud to serve the state as the No. 1 choice in higher education for Arizona students while driving the economy forward by creating new knowledge and supporting existing business, social and public service enterprises. ASU is also attracting new companies and other entities to Arizona.

And we could do even more. We continue to ask legislators to invest in Arizona’s students – Arizona’s future – by providing for one half of the cost of educating resident students at the three state universities. Our profound efforts at cost cutting, efficiency, partnerships and excellence can take care of the rest. This means that the entirety of the rest of the financial life of the university can be financed by our own efforts.

But our commitment to the students of Arizona and the state of Arizona is not contingent upon that support. Whatever happens politically, Arizona State University will work tirelessly to ensure the brightest of futures for our students and our state.

About the 2018-19 tuition proposal

For the third year in a row, ASU has been named the most innovative university in the country, ahead of Stanford and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  The entire university, through the combined efforts of its faculty, staff and students, continues advancing the charter of ASU.  A few of the past year's achievements are highlighted:

  • Increased ASU's faculty earning of the world's highest awards to include: 5 Nobel laureates, 6 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 3 MacArthur fellows.
  • Barrett, The Honors College, outperforms Duke, UC Berkeley and others in Fulbright Scholars success rates, while also producing prestigious Marshall, Rhodes and Churchill scholars.
  • ASU was named, by Times Higher Education, a top-10 university for graduate employability ahead of MIT, Columbia and UCLA.
  • ASU is a top-10 university for Silicon Valley careers among schools with the most undergraduate and graduate alumni hired by the 25 biggest Silicon Valley employers in the last year, ahead of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia and UCLA.
  • ASU was named one of the nation's top 25 universities for commercializing technology.
  • Fiske Guide to Colleges named ASU a 'best buy' for excellence and value.
  • Tooker House brings innovation to engineering residential experience.
  • Among the top 2017 awards in athletics: NCAA titleholder for women's golf: Monica Vaughn; NCAA titleholder for women's hammer throw: Maggie Ewen; No. 1 in the country, triathlon; Missy Farr-Kaye, WGCA National Coach of the Year; NCAA Division I champion in women's golf; and women's tennis earned a perfect Academic Progress Rate for the 12th consecutive year.
  • ASU's U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Awards total $4.3 million in grants which rank ASU first among recipients in Photovoltaics Research for two years in a row, ahead of MIT, Stanford and UC Berkeley.

As I stated in January, we will continue to pursue efficiency as a core tenet of our responsibility to the citizens of the state. A recent report by the national accounting and audit firm Grant Thornton found that ASU's cost-per-student- a common measure of efficiency- is 38 percent below the average of its peer institutions, and 21 percent below an average of all four-year research universities. And the efficiency is on the rise: Grant Thornton found a decrease in the cost-per-student of more than $800 since 2008.

Through a combination of cost discipline and strategic use of partnerships to control costs, ASU has consistently operated with about half the staff per 100 students as its peers:

staff comparison chart

As always, ASU will continue to fulfill its responsibilities under our charter and the constitution and we will continue to work with the state as a partner in our efforts to do so.

Six years ago, I promised, for a 10-year cycle, that the resident tuition would not increase more than 3% in any given year.  Going into the seventh year based on that promise, I propose NO increase in Arizona resident undergraduate student tuition; NO increase in undergraduate class fees and NO increase in undergraduate academic program fees.

For resident graduate students, the modest increase would be 1.5% or $166.

For out-of-state undergraduate students, the base tuition increase would be 3.5% or $934. Non-resident graduate students would also see an increase of3.5% or $1,022.

International student tuition, at both the undergraduate and graduate level, is proposed to increase by 3.5% or $1,010 for undergraduate and $1,098 for graduate students.

ASU Online base credit hour will increase 2% for both undergraduate and graduate students.  This is in line with Board policy to set online course charges based on market and other relevant factors.  The on-line tuition proposed increase is 2.0% or $10 per credit hour.  Arizona resident students in online degree programs taking more than 12 credit hours in a semester will pay the same tuition as the Arizona full-time immersion student rate during the fall and spring semesters.

There will not be any additional increases in undergraduate differential tuition.

In addition, Associated Students proposes a $15 per semester increase for the student health fee that will enable the service hours to be extended; have the opportunity for increased specialized medical care; implement a Telehealth platform and provide the addition of insurance and referral navigators.  We support this proposal.

The following tables highlight the modest tuition and fee increase for the last six years.

year over year tuition chart

ASU has become far more accessible and attractive to students from families with lower and modest incomes during a period of tuition increases. This has been achieved at the same time that ASU has become a school of choice for students for whom affordability is not an issue.

family income chart

Even as we propose zero to modest increases, we do this knowing we had major negative impact to the budget that was unanticipated.

For many years, the Health Insurance Trust Fund (HITF), intended to fund State and University employee health care expenditures, was used as a source of funding for umelated purposes. That practice, combined with flat employee insurance premium contributions during the Great Recession, resulted in HITF being short of the funding required to pay for employee health care expenses. To address this, the State Department of Administration increased required employer contributions with little notice, after tuition and State investment in higher education had been set, effectively cutting ASU's general purpose funds by over $10 million in fiscal year 2018. The Governor's budget for fiscal year 2019 proposes to reduce further the general fund support for this expense, effectively increasing the net annual impact to $12 million.  The majority of these funds come from student tuition payments.  This needs to be solved this year or an additional surcharge may be necessary.

The current resident surcharge remains as the university is still underfunded. We will continue to work on achieving state investment equivalent to 50 percent of the cost to educate a student.

Find out more about the tuition setting calendar of events, including ASU sites for the March 27 public hearing regarding tuition proposals.

Read the entire ASU 2018-19 tuition proposal