University Tuition has skyrocketed during the Crow and Shelton years. The Arizona Constitution says that tuition should be "as nearly free as possible," but it's hard for the University Presidents to justify their half million dollar salaries if they simply provide a high quality education at a reasonable price. So instead, they follow all the education fads--every course seems to have "Sustainability" in its description--while also hiring as many researchers and building as many buildings as possible.
Now that the state is out of money, students bear the brunt of costs, and tuition has risen so much that middle class kids can't afford to attend college and many degrees have no economic value--the present value of the financial benefit they confer is less than the cost of the tuition it takes to earn them.
The Republic has an interesting article here. I thought this line did a great job showing the mentality that pervades the system.
"The budget cuts are really the story," said Sandy Baum, an independent policy analyst and co-author of the College Board report. "All over the country, states are cutting the budget for public colleges and universities. What are (colleges) going to do?"
Faced with less revenue, the schools chose to raise prices...you know, just like the private sector. I'm sure that Ms Baum's question was rhetorical, but let me give you an answer that may come as a surprise.
Cut costs. I know that must be shocking but education is the only industry in which modernization has lead to higher prices. So instead of creating another chair of sustainability or putting a shiny new building on top of a perfectly good parking lot, how about getting costs in line with revenue. Now that's what I call sustainable.