Ducey stands by ABOR, says tuition rates are constitutional – Arizona Capitol Times – Arizona News

Ducey stands by ABOR, says tuition rates are constitutional – Arizona Capitol Times – Arizona News

Gov. Doug Ducey chats Thursday with Sandra Watson, president of the Arizona Commerce Authority, ahead of the meeting of the board. (Photo by Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services)

Arizona’s three universities are in compliance with constitutional requirements to keep instruction “as nearly free as possible,” Gov. Doug Ducey said Thursday, despite what Attorney General Mark Brnovich contends.

“Our universities are accessible and affordable,” the governor said.

The governor said he and lawmakers had to make some difficult decisions in prior years, making sharp cuts in funding for higher education and other priorities. It is only recently that the state has started to restore some of those cuts.

What that means, he said, is that the Board of Regents is doing the best it can to keep tuition not only affordable but maintain a high level of education, with U.S. News and World Report saying Arizona State University is the No. 1 most innovative school in the country, “beating out MIT and Stanford.”

“So by those metrics I think the universities are oasises of excellence,” Ducey said. “And they are also quite a value.”

More to the point, the governor said he believes the regents, in setting tuition — and even in imposing sharp increases during the past 15 years — are keeping the cost of instruction within what the constitution requires.

Ducey, in his comments Sept. 14, did more than disagree with Brnovich’s conclusion that the tuition is unconstitutionally too high. He also took a slap at the attorney general for seeking to resolve the issue by filing suit — and doing so without first talking to the regents.

“I’m not a big fan of…

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