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What if an Arizona college education were ‘as nearly free as possible’?

What If: Colleges were funded so well that they were nearly free. Would the benefits outweigh the costs?


State Rep. Paul Boyer, chair of House Education Committee:

The question assumes Arizona college education is not as nearly free as possible when in many instances it is.

Community college education is as nearly free as possible. I know. I paid for it out of my own pocket for two years and the cost to attend community college has only increased $32 a credit hour since I attended in the late 1990s.

Keeping cost down is clearly intentional on the part of our wonderful community college system that provides quality education at a reasonable cost in Arizona. We should all be proud of this determined effort by those who run this system to provide excellent educational opportunities for all.

Anyone who will work hard can attend college and lessen the amount of student loans or even refuse them altogether. I know. I have always worked full-time while attending community college or university. I paid for graduate school as I attended, and graduated with my masters degree debt free. Unfortunately, I had to step away from my second masters degree due to cost.

A correlation exists between the availability of government subsidized student loans and higher cost of tuition. Universities can always charge more because they know the government guarantees taxpayer-subsidized loans to cover the new price tag.

Meanwhile, until the last state budget, Arizona community colleges have always operated with state funding at 3 percent of their total operating cost. They now receive zero state support.

If government made college as nearly free as possible as defined by the spending lobby, this would make attending a university even more costly than it already is.

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