Higher-Ed Funding on Agenda at Board of Regents’ Flagstaff Meeting

Sep 23, 2015

The president of Northern Arizona University will address the Arizona Board of Regents at its meeting in Flagstaff Thursday. Rita Cheng will update the board on how NAU is faring after state funding to higher education was slashed by nearly $100 million. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

NAU President Rita Cheng
Credit NAU

The cuts initially prompted layoffs and deep spending reductions to several programs and initiatives including new building construction and maintenance. Tuition was boosted by nearly 4 percent for incoming students to $10,358 for state residents and $23,348 for non-residents per academic year.

Rita Cheng, along with the presidents of Arizona’s two other public universities and some state lawmakers, want at least a portion of the funds to be restored in next year’s budget.

“We have talked about with the governor a plan moving forward that would be student based, so as the students grow so does the investment of the state. The state should come up with some type of understanding with the families and the universities about supporting public education,” says Cheng.

At the end of the last fiscal year, Arizona came up $325 million in the black. Many education advocates have called for at least some of the surplus to go back into higher education and public K-through-12 instruction.

Cheng is also expected to discuss NAU research projects, community engagement and fundraising.