Arizona Attorney General Wants Numbers Behind Public University Tuition Hikes
Lawyers for Arizona's three public universities say Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and his staff are out of bounds challenging the tuition rate students pay.
Brnovich is suing the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) for violating the state's law that tuition must be "as nearly free as possible."
It's been more than a decade since ABOR faced a lawsuit claiming its tuition hike was unconstitutional, when in-state students saw a nearly 30 percent hike in payments.
Since 2002, Assistant Attorney General Beau Roysden argued on behalf of Brnovich that tuition rates have jumped 14 percent annually. That's the third fastest among all 50 states.
Before a Maricopa County Superior Court, he said the attorney general wants transparency from ABOR explaining how it justifies the tuition rates. For example, why all students are forced to pay mandatory fees.
"Mandatory fees for things like health, athletics and recreation, even if a student just wants to attend class and receive instruction towards his or her degree?'' he asked.
Lawyers for the Board have argued the Attorney General Office has no legal right to challenge the universities' tuition or policies used to derive the numbers.
Roysden conceded they cannot challenge the specific tuition figures, which now exceed $10,000 a year for in state residents. But, he said his boss has the right to see how the board arrives at those numbers.