President Robbins: The Coronavirus Will Harm University Of Arizona Tuition Revenue

Published: Thursday, April 9, 2020 - 8:05am
Updated: Thursday, April 9, 2020 - 8:06am
Mariana Dale/KJZZ
Robert Robbins speaking in 2017.

University of Arizona President Robert Robbins said that tuition revenues are expected to drop due to the coronavirus.

In a conference call with state and local leaders on Wednesday evening, Robbins said the ongoing pandemic will likely prevent some students, particularly those from outside Arizona, from returning to campus in the fall.

Embassies aren’t going to be open in time for international studies to get the necessary visas to travel to Tucson, Robbins said.

Even out-of-state students might think twice about traveling to Arizona, he said.

“We just don’t know by the fall where people’s minds are gonna be about coming back to campus or not,” Robbins said. “So the financial impact, we’re modeling it. But as you can imagine, our net tuition revenue is derived greatly from out of state and international students, so we’re going to have significant shortfalls in the projections in what we’re gonna have from tuition revenue.”

Out-of-state students pay roughly $30,000 in tuition to attend Arizona’s three public universities, compared to roughly $11,000 for Arizona residents.

About 40% of University of Arizona students are from outside Arizona, Robbins said. 

Of those, about 15% are international students.

Robbins and other university officials said it’s unclear when the pandemic will subside, and that even if some statistics start to show the number of cases flattening, data will remain unreliable until rampant testing is available.

Dr. Michael Dake, senior vice president of health sciences at UA, said the university is working to help produce and develop testing for the coronavirus.

“Testing is sort of critical to get a handle on, to get some data out there, so we can understand why, say, children aren’t as particularly prone to get infected as older adults, and are they still getting infected and shedding at whatever rates? We just don’t know,” Dake said. “But this all impacts this uncertainty of when it will be possible to get back to our job of training the next generation of health care workers.”

The university has also been producing some personal protective equipment for medical professionals, as well as roughly 200 liters of hand sanitizer.

Dake said he expects UA will remain in a “remote learning environment” for at least the next six months.

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