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ABOR approves tuition hikes at some public universities for next school year

(Facebook/The University of Arizona)

PHOENIX — Some students at two public universities in Arizona will see a tuition increase in the upcoming school year.

The Arizona Board of Regents approved the tuition and fee rates for the 2018-2019 school year on Thursday.

Incoming freshman who are Arizona residents will see slight increases at University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University.

UofA students will see an increase of 2 percent, while NAU students will see an increase of 3.5 percent.

Continuing undergraduate and Arizona resident students at those universities will not see an increase.

Undergraduate students at Arizona State University who are also Arizona residents will also not see a tuition increase.

But all three universities increased or added fees for specific programs.

The combined tuition and mandatory fee rates range from an increase of .3 percent to 4.6 percent for resident undergraduate students and from 1.6 to 6.9 percent for resident graduate students.

At UofA, in-state undergraduate students in 2018-19 will pay $12,447 a year in tuition and mandatory fees while incoming out-of-state undergrads will pay $36,346 a year.

ASU’s in-state undergrads will pay $10,882 in 2018-19 tuition and mandatory fees with out-of-state undergrads paying $28,336.

At NAU, in-state undergrads will pay $11,564 in tuition and fees and out-of-state undergraduates paying $25,828.

The average amount that the resident undergraduate base tuition and fees will increase was about 1.6 percent, down from an average of 2.3 percent last year.

“It’s good news for students and families that the rate of tuition and fee increases continues to be minimal. This is important as we work to keep a quality, public higher education affordable for students in Arizona,” Board of Regents Chair Bill Ridenour said in a statement.

“Our board has worked to continue an ongoing, multi-year effort to slow tuition increases and improve predictability for students and families with resident undergraduate tuition increases averaging less than 3 percent per year from 2013 and 2018.”

The issue of tuition raises has been a contentious one for years.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a lawsuit against the Board of Regents last year over the group’s decision to increase in-state tuition at the state’s three public universities by as much as 370 percent. Brnovich alleged that the board “dramatically and unconstitutionally” increased the price of in-state tuition and mandatory fees by “315 to 370 percent” in the last 15 years.

The lawsuit claimed that the board “shirked its constitutional [duties]” because its tuition-setting policy does not “comply with the constitutional mandate,” “unlawfully charges students…significantly more than the actual cost” and causes the “illegal expenditure of public monies.”

It also claimed that the board’s decision to grant in-state tuition to students under what was the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama-era program that granted temporary protection from deportation and a temporary work permit to children who came to the U.S. as a child, “[risked] triggering a federal requirement that in-state tuition benefits must be extended to all U.S. citizens.”

The board filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in December.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.