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ASU students hope Arizona Legislature splits tuition with them

Victoria Holderbach of Arizona State University's Devils' Advocates. (KTAR News Photo/Peter Samore)

PHOENIX – Arizona State University students fear the state Legislature won’t give them the tuition breaks they want.

A student support group says Arizona higher education has suffered a $1.5 billion cut since the Great Recession.

“Our goal is to get a 50-50 funding model in which the Legislature will pay for half a student’s costs to attend college,” said Victoria Holderbach of Devils’ Advocates.

SB 1518, now making its way through the Legislature, would do just that.

But Holderbach knows all sorts of groups are competing for parts of the state’s $1 billion surplus.

“We get the pennies that are left over at the end of the budget, and that’s just not enough,” she said.

“We’re not getting the validity and the attention that we should be getting.”

Holderbach says she’s on a 60 percent scholarship but still struggles to cover the rest of her costs. She knows other students have it worse.

Meanwhile, ASU leaders hope any state budget increases won’t be limited to tuition assistance, saying that alone won’t lead to student success.

“It’s a real challenge for somebody who doesn’t have the support of family, and doesn’t have the resources that come with that, to succeed,” said Jonathan Koppel, dean of ASU’s Watts College of Public Service.

His school provides, for example, free tuition and mentorship for former foster youth.

Jo Ann Martinez of the Pulliam Legacy Scholars Program says her students also need “funding for housing so that they can live on campus, their personal expenses, paying for books.”

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