Lawmakers Slam Northern Arizona University’s Decision to Offer Free Tuition to Half of Arizona Households

While Arizona’s three public universities are demanding tuition increases, at the same time one is also announcing that it will provide free tuition to about half of Arizona households. Northern Arizona University (NAU) said its new financial aid initiative, Access2Excellence, will cover tuition expenses for every Arizona resident who is admitted to the university and has a household income of $65,000 or less. The median family income in Arizona is $65,000.

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Arizona’s Public Universities Demanding Tuition Increases Despite Slowly Recovering Economy

The three public universities in Arizona — Arizona State University, University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University — are demanding tuition increases. They are proposing increases of 2% to 5.6%. A committee of the Board of Regents will vote on the hikes on April 7. 

The universities cite inflation as the reason for the increase, with NAU President José Luis Cruz Rivera asserting the increase “accounts for less than half of current inflationary costs.” 

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Northern Arizona University to Alter Admissions Requirements to Increase Accessibility

Northern Arizona University will alter its admissions requirements to reduce the number of the core courses mandated for guaranteed university admission.

The pilot program, approved by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR), will eliminate the foreign language requirement from the 16 core classes students must take in high school for consideration and be closely aligned to the state’s graduation requirements.

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Arizona Universities to Follow Federal Order for Workers to be Vaccinated

Workers at the University of Arizona must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

That’s the news from university President Robert Robbins in response to President Joe Biden’s order that any public or private organization that benefits from federal tax dollars must install a vaccination mandate.

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Arizona Universities Mandate Masks, Setting Up Showdown with Governor’s Office

In direct defiance of legislation banning vaccine passports and mask mandates, three major Arizona universities will require masks for students, setting up a showdown between the schools and the state government.

“All three Arizona universities said Wednesday they are going to require face masks on campus in certain situations, regardless of new state legislation apparently designed to preclude them from doing that,” Tuscon.com reported. “And more than half the Republican state legislators are asking Gov. Doug Ducey to withhold funds from schools who they say are violating a different ban on mask mandates and take the errant districts to court.”

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Arizona Department of Education Awarded NAU $1 Million to Teach Culturally Responsive Education

Photo of two teachers in a classroom going through papers.

The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) awarded Northern Arizona University (NAU) $1 million to teach culturally responsive education in tribal schools. The grant, awarded at the beginning of last month, will apply to professional development programs and fellowships for tribal educators.

“Believing in the power of teachers and the desire to grow their capacity to write and teach curriculum that is culturally responsive is at the forefront of the Institute for Native-serving Educators (INE)[,]” read NAU’s press release.

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