Arizona's Universities See $32 Million In New Funding With New Budget

Published: Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 8:36am

The Arizona legislature passed a nearly $9.6 billion spending package early Wednesday morning. Included is $32 million in new money for state universities.

The new funding comes on the heels of a $99 million cut last year. And of the new money added this year, almost 60-percent of it is one-time funding.  

Lawmakers also earmarked more than $5 million for so-called economic freedom schools at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University. The latter of which-- ASU’s Center for the Study of Economic Liberty-- opened with private funding in 2014. Its website touts the school's commitment to studying economic liberty and free enterprise.

Sen. Olivia Cajero Bedford, D-Tucson, opposed sending that much money to those types of institutions. "And then this budget provides public money for that type of education? Why not put the $5.5 million towards courses that will help students prepare for a career?" she said.

Lawmakers debated until nearly 2 a.m. before approving a spending package that begins July 1.

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