The affordability of higher education is a critical issue to every nation and public institutions of higher learning play a significant role in ensuring that the dream to pursue an education goal is achievable. Nevertheless, the steep rise in college tuition fees in many states is dimming out the dream of many students. The cost of tuition fees for American students increased by 80% between the year 2000 and 2014; however, the household income did not increase by a similar margin, but it instead decreased by 7% (Mitchell, Palacios, & Leachman, 2015). As such it directs that the burden of tuition fees is becoming worse with time for many American students.
With regards to Arizona, higher learning institutions in the state have recorded the highest level of tuition fees increase since the beginning of the recession. The value is twice the national average with each student bearing an additional cost of $5355 (Mitchell, Leachman, & Masterson, 2016). The magnitude of tuition fees in Arizona may not be shocking considering the numerous tax cuts passed in the state. Consequently, education funding has significantly decreased causing students to bear greater educational costs.
The primary issue affecting tuition fees in Arizona is not merely the cut in education funding, but the size of the cuts is the main contributing factor. The state support for higher education in Arizona experienced the most significant cut, since the recession, it is a long period, and with the economy turning around, the cost of education should be significantly reduced by now. However, this is not the case as Arizona students continue to bear significant costs to cater for their higher education needs. The situation depicts misplaced priorities as funding education should be among the major priorities for any state.
Presently, the state provides support of up to 34%, at this rate, many middle class, and lower class families cannot afford the cost of higher education (Mitchell, Leachman, & Masterson, 2017). The only way to solve this problem is by persuading the lawmakers to increasingly reinstate higher education funding for resident students up to above 50%. If lawmakers agree to increase the costs to over 50 percent, they will cover educational needs to meet the historical level of higher education funding.
The present education model in the state is unsustainable as it places a significant strain on the students and this threatens the future of the nation. Unaffordable education and inadequate resource supply by the state to public universities lead to severe consequences in the future. The possibility of a decreased workforce or incompetent graduates due to limited learning resources is a future problem to expect if the current trend in funding does not change (Leachman & Mai, 2014). The situation does not only impact individual aces to education, but it compromises the future of education in Arizona.
The Arizona State Constitution may need to be amended by a popular vote to allow an increase in education funding to support university students in Arizona. An amendment to the constitution should seek to ensure that the amount of tax revenue allocated to fund education is increased from its present to at least one cent per dollar. The increment will see that resources are delivered to learning centers and that students are relieved from the huge tuition burden. Now that country is no longer in recession; the state should consider improving its funds to higher education since the economy is recovered and there is no significant reason for significantly cutting funds.
Leachman, M., & Mai, C. (2014). Most states still funding schools less than before the recession. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 16, 1-12.
Mitchell, M., Leachman, M., & Masterson, K. (2016). Funding down, tuition up. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 15.
Mitchell, M., Leachman, M., & Masterson, K. (2017). A lost decade in higher education funding state cuts have driven up tuition and reduced quality.
Mitchell, M., Palacios, V., & Leachman, M. (2015). States are still funding higher education below pre-recession levels. Journal of Collective Bargaining in the Academy, (10), 71.