PHOENIX – Attorney General Mark Brnovich today filed a lawsuit against the Arizona Board of Regents (“ABOR”) for dramatically and unconstitutionally increasing the price of base tuition and mandatory fees at Arizona's public universities by more than 300 percent since 2003. The Arizona Constitution requires that “the university and all other state educational institutions shall be open to students of both sexes, and the instruction furnished shall be as nearly free as possible.”
“Every Arizonan dreams of being able to send their kids to college,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. "Within the last 15 years, Arizona went from having some of the most affordable public universities to having some of the most expensive. We believe the Board of Regents needs to be held accountable and answer tough questions for Arizona’s skyrocketing tuition rates.”
The State alleges that ABOR has adopted unconstitutional tuition-setting policies, has abandoned its duty to serve as a check on the university presidents, and has ceased deriving tuition rates from the actual cost of instruction. According to the lawsuit, ABOR has misinterpreted its “nearly free” mandate to mean whatever the market rate is for peer institutions and made itself as the arbiter of “affordability” for Arizona’s students and families.
Intertwined with these price hikes, ABOR has also refused to comply with Arizona law prohibiting state subsidies for students “without lawful immigration status.” ABOR is causing the illegal expenditure of public monies and the failure to collect tuition in direct contravention of clear and established Arizona law.
Full copy of the lawsuit.
Deputy Division Chief Beau Roysden and Assistant Attorneys General Keith Miller and Evan Daniels worked on this case.