Wednesday, February 22, 2012

HB 2675 Passes Appropriations Committee - Destined to Move to House Floor - Minimum Contribution Bill 2012

HB 2675, the Minimum Contribution Bill, is a bill that requires all university students in Arizona to pay a minimum contribution of $2000 towards their tuition. The bill was introduced with 25 sponsors and has been scheduled to be heard in 2 committees: the Education Committee and the Appropriations Committee.

The bill was removed from the agenda (and effectively killed) in the Education Committee, but was still scheduled to be heard in the Appropriations Committee.

The bill which was introduced by Rep. Kavanagh was intended to make sure that "students have skin in the game," as the popular catch phrase of the bills supporters put so elegantly. They want to make sure that students are invested in their education, complaining that an estimated 48% of students pay no tuition, a statistic introduced by the Arizona Board of Regents (the governing body of the Arizona education system), which is no being brought under question as being an anomaly and a bloated figure, especially since the statistic is several years old and does not take into consideration the recent tuition leaps that has nearly doubled tuition in the past several years due to a lack of funding promised by the state.

The bill was heard today in the committee and passed with one amendment that opens up an exception for student loans. Although the bill is no less detrimental than it was before, it is still a step in the wrong direction.

According to statistics introduced by the Arizona Students' Association at the hearing, the actual number of students who pay no tuition is much closer to 7,000 (a drastically smaller number), but that these students are those with the worst financial situation and the greatest need. And as tuition continues to increase and education becomes more and more expensive, these 7,000 students may have to find desperate means of paying for the education anyway because the need-based aid they are receiving now may not even be enough, especially if the state continues to cut back education funding.

I know that I can barely even afford college, and I take out the maximum amount of student loans that I can. If it weren't for my $3,000 / year grant I receive, I might not be able to afford it at all, as that barely even covers books. And even with my grant and my thousands of dollars of student loans, I still have to work just to pay my bills, while trying to balance sleep and school work.

Even with the new amendment that grants me and others and exception for taking out student loans, I still strongly oppose this bill because it is hurting education, students, the economy, and America!

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