A budget deal struck between state lawmakers and the governor includes more than $100 million in cuts to higher education. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, Northern Arizona University’s president Rita Cheng released a statement outlining the domino effect the cuts could have to the local economy.
Cheng says NAU brings more than a billion dollars annually to Coconino County, and accounts for one in five jobs. The proposed cuts have the potential to affect everything from tuition costs to university jobs.
Of the $100 million in cuts, NAU will be responsible for trimming more than $18 million next fiscal year.
President Cheng says since 2008 universities have lost more than $500 million from the state. NAU alone has seen a $160 million decline since that time despite significant enrollment growth. The current budget proposal reduces higher education spending to 1995 levels.
Governor Ducey and Republican lawmakers say the cuts are necessary in order to contend with a billion-and-a-half dollar budget deficit expected in 2016.