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Northern Arizona University’s tuition hike lowest in years

Northern Arizona University

Northern Arizona University has proposed a hike in tuition and fees for incoming freshmen on the Mountain Campus of 2.6 percent. That’s the lowest increase since NAU began the fixed-rate approach that freezes tuition at the first-year rate.

The new charge of $9,989, if approved by the Board of Regents, will not increase for those freshmen for four years. NAU undergraduates returning in the fall will see their tuition frozen at the rate set in their freshman year. Graduate students could see a hike in tuition of 4.5 percent for state residents and 1.9 percent for others.

In all, tuition hikes will raise an additional $9 million next year after financial aid, based on projected enrollment growth of 297 students. The self-paced Personalized Learning program, which is web-based, could bring in an additional $2 million in tuition if 400 more students enroll at a rate of $2,500 for every six months, or $5,000 a year.

The University of Arizona is proposing a 2 percent tuition increase for in-state students this fall and a 5 percent hike for non-residents. Arizona State University submitted a proposal Friday with no tuition increase for resident undergraduate students and a 3 percent hike for non-resident students.

An interactive public forum has been scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 25, to discuss the tuition recommendations made by the three state universities. The Arizona Board of Regents will vote on tuition at its April 3 meeting in Tucson.

NAU students who entered in the fall of 2008 were the first to be offered “The Pledge” of no tuition hikes for four years. They paid $5,964 in tuition and fees. Subsequent freshman classes through the fall of 2011 were charged tuition at rates up to 14 percent higher than previous classes.

But increases began to moderate, with the last two freshman tuition hikes coming in at 5 percent each year. This year’s proposed hike of 2.9 percent will keep tuition and fees under the $10,000 threshold, although it is 67 percent higher than during the first year of the fixed-rate program after state appropriations to higher education plummeted following the recession.

The changes would bring tuition and fees at NAU-Yavapai to $5,345 (up $248 or 4.9 percent) and to $6,902 (up $197 or 2.9 percent) at NAU-Yuma.

Graduate program fees will rise dramatically in the health professions, including a new $11,000 fee in occupational therapy, a $2,600 increase in the physical therapy fee in Flagstaff to $5,000 and a $2,000 increase to $11,000 for the physician assistant fee.

NAU officials said the higher fees are needed to support expanded programming that is not state-subsidized and move the programs to self-sustaining status by 2019. In all, based on this year’s budget, tuition and fees will account for about $180 million in revenues next year, or more than a third of total NAU revenues.

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