By J. Ferguson

Arizona Daily Wildcat (U. Arizona)

(U-WIRE) PHOENIX-Arizona state senators green-lighted a plan last week to allow incoming freshmen the option to avoid sharp yearly increases in tuition.

Incoming freshmen would be able to opt out of the current system by paying a flat tuition that would not increase during their undergraduate education. The amount would be set by the university to reflect an estimated cost for a student to get his or her degree.

However, students will have to move to Phoenix to take advantage of paying a fixed, flat tuition for their entire undergraduate education, as the pilot program is limited to Arizona State University.

Under the plan outlined in SB 1469, university students would pay a fixed cost for their tuition. The cost for the flat-tuition program would be higher on a yearly basis than the current conventional tuition plan, but would not increase every year like tuition currently does.

For example, Arizona State University lists its current tuition as $4,404 per year for an Arizona resident seeking an undergraduate education. Without any tuition increases and with the assumption a student would graduate in four years, a degree from ASU could cost $17,616. As tuition costs increase yearly and university officials have increased tuition every year since 1993, the ASU education under the current system costs thousands more than $17,616.

Under a flat-tuition model, a student would pay a pre-determined amount for four years at ASU.