AZ lawmaker pulls rug from under students: “Welcome to life”

Republican lawmakers in Arizona, apparently in a fit of pique over the fact that some students receive grants or scholarships that cover the cost of tuition to the state’s universities, have recommended a measure that requires all students to come up with a minimum of $2,000 out of their own pockets to pay tuition. This comes on top of a tuition increase–often if not usually the result of decreasing state support for the schools.

Never mind that tuition makes up only part of a student’s college expenses. Or that the students involved have somehow—through merit or need—come up with the money to pay tuition. GOP lawmakers are determined to make college more of a sporting prospect.

Besides the fact that the bill has the practical effect of knocking lower-income students off the educational ladder, this sounds like a terribly intrusive measure to begin with. How is it legislators’ business how students pay their (ever-increasing) bills?

The Arizona Board of Regents opposes the bill, which passed out of committee on a party-line vote.

To add insult to injury, there’s this, reported by the Arizona Republic:

About 100 students signed in to oppose the bill, and a handful spoke out against it. James Allen, UA student-body president, told legislators that by passing the bill, legislators would make it harder to achieve a higher-education degree.

Rep. Michelle Ugenti, R-Scottsdale, replied, “Welcome to life.”

A few minutes later, Rep. Matt Heinz, D-Tucson, admonished his colleagues for their comments.

“I feel these students are being greeted with open hostility,” said Heinz, who later voted against the bill.

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