What HB2675 will do: Mandate that university students without a national merit scholarship or an athletic scholarship to pay a $2,000 tuition payment out of pocket. This will exempt all scholarships, grants, and forms of financial aid.
"Students at Arizona's three state universities will have to pay -- or borrow -- at least $2,000 a year to get an education under terms of legislation approved by a House panel today.
Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, said students should have some "skin in the game.'' He said students will take their schooling more seriously and be less likely to drop out if they have made an investment.
"I really believe that when something is given to you, you don't have the appreciation of having put in some work,'' agreed Rep. John Fillmore, R-Apache Junction.
He said $2,000 out of $9,000 annual tuition is not that big a deal. Even with books and fees, Kavanagh said that adds only another $1,500 a year.
Kavanagh said that would leave students with $14,000 debt after four years, "less than the cost of a Chevy Sonic.''
"And I personally believe that degrees from our universities are worth far more than Chevy Sonics,'' he said. Anyway, Kavanagh said that is a small amount, as college grads earn anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million more over their lifetimes than those who do not have a higher education.
The vote came despite objections from students who said there are expenses beyond tuition. Room and board aside, they said they are forced to pay for gasoline, insurance and parking.
"Welcome to life,'' Rep. Michelle Ugenti, R-Scottsdale, told the students.
"I don't understand why that should affect a modest $2,000 for your education,'' Ugenti continued. "We all are thrust into circumstances and unpredictable life experiences.''
As approved by the Appropriations Committee, HB 2675 does have some exceptions.
Student athletes would not have to come up with the $2,000. And scholarships awarded based solely on academic merit or some special ability could be used to cover that amount.
Kavanagh also promised to alter the measure when it goes to the full House to say that the requirement to pay at least $2,000 tuition would not apply to those who cannot live at home and have expenses for housing and meals. But he said those living at home should not get a free ride."
Alex Lae started this petition with a single signature, and now has 2,199 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.