Arizona universities taking experimental approach to funding

As the debate over the escalating student debt problem continues, the two newest public universities in Arizona will test innovative ways of providing students with a more affordable education, according to Inside Higher Ed.

Northern Arizona University's campus in Prescott Valley and Arizona State University's (ASU) Lake Havasu campus will be the test group for new ways of funding public colleges to assess whether such plans can effectively reduce the amount that students have to pay to earn their degrees.

Perhaps the boldest measure introduced as part of the pilot project is that the two campuses will attempt to fund operational costs, such as faculty wages and utilities, purely from tuition revenues without the support of state funding. Traditionally, state educational funding has accounted for around 25 percent of how such schools are funded, a figure that has declined steadily since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008.

"Given the economic difficulties, this could be the nature of how things are going to be financed in the future," Richard Stanley, senior vice president of ASU, told the news source. "Different groups are seeing the value of putting incentives together."

Such initiatives could be welcome news for students who are considering filling out college applications. According to the Washington Times, the total amount of student debt is set to exceed $1 trillion this year, more than the amount of debt owed by Americans on credit cards. 


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