ASU statement on 2015-2016 tuition proposal to ABOR


April 10, 2015

Over the past decade, Arizona State University has evolved at an accelerated pace to meet the needs of our students and to support aspirations for Arizona's future. Enrollment has grown significantly, as have opportunities for students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds.

Through innovation and the embrace of an academic culture that puts students first, graduation rates have climbed while our research enterprise has nearly quadrupled. ASU President Michael Crow and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey ASU President Michael Crow addresses the Arizona Board of Regents and Gov. Doug Ducey, April 9, at the Memorial Union on ASU's Tempe campus. Gov. Ducey spoke of the difficult job of balancing the budget by reducing funding to the state's three major universities. Photo by: Charlie Leight/ASU News Download Full Image

The successes of our model as a New American University attracted a record 100,000 applications last year, and we looked to the coming year with every intention of continuing our rapid advancement. New faculty must be hired to sustain our upward trajectory as an institution, discussions with local and tribal leaders across Arizona have been underway about opportunities ASU could bring to their areas.

But the decision to reduce the state's investment in public higher education by $99 million will require us to find new revenue and new innovations to continue making progress towards our goals. All of this can be disruptive. The reduced state support in the coming year translates into a $53 million cut at ASU, and that will have an impact on operations, hiring, the expansion of existing programs and the initiation of new ones. It will also require us to ask our students and their families to contribute more to the cost of the educational experience that they have come to expect of ASU.

We have had to rethink and realign the path for our entire Strategic Enterprise Framework that was developed and approved in 2011 and on which ASU has based its planning assumptions including the current revenue model. The model reflected that over a ten-year period working toward 2020, ASU would plan on very modest state investment increases (all based on performance), would limit tuition increases for Arizona residents to less than three percent per year and that following parity funding realignment, we would not use enrollment as a planning concept for state investment again. In addition, we outlined significant new revenue from ASU Online and out-of-state enrollment as a key element of the plan.

In revising the planning assumptions, we will continue to build a university that is steadfastly focused on accessibility, excellence and impact. ASU is more entrepreneurial, nimble and innovative than it has been at any time in its history and ASU will continue to make great progress in the days ahead.

In fact, ASU is one of the most efficient universities in the country. After the global economic downturn of 2008 forced dramatic reductions in state support, the university implemented broad structural changes and made deep cuts in its operations, including the elimination of 2,055 positions. As a result of those moves, the university operates at a high level of efficiency today.

Our rate of expenditures per degree is among the best when compared to other research­ intensive public universities. Our ratio of administrators to students is also admirably low. The improved academic outcomes and increased research activity have been achieved with a faculty and administration whose size has remained largely unchanged.

Still, we must live within our means and the reduction in state support will require us to cut operations by $34 million in the coming fiscal year. Some units will be forced to make cuts, while others will need to set aside plans for new initiatives or hires. The adjustments are being made in such a way as to minimize any impact that decreased state investment will have on the student experience. They also are designed to support priorities identified by students and faculty members without shifting an undue burden to our students, but the decrease in state investment does require us to ask our students and their families to contribute more to the cost of their education.

The state's primary interest has been in supporting students from Arizona who want to pursue a higher education. To understand fully the difficulty of absorbing this $53 million reduction in funding, consider that it represents a 15 percent cut on a per in-state student basis. For that reason, we need to ask our Arizona students and their families to contribute a little more than we previously planned toward the cost of their educational experience. A temporary one-year $320 surcharge fee for Arizona students is proposed to help fill a portion of the gap until the state's finances stabilize.

ASU's rising prominence nationally and growing awareness of its achievements around the world have attracted students to the university from across the country and from around the globe. In order to continue to provide the quality academic experience that they have come to expect, we will be asking non-resident students to pay more in tuition.

Tuition rates for students from other states would increase by four percent. We remain committed to sustaining a diverse community reflective of the university's stature as a nationally recognized institution of higher education that prepares students for the global economy, and our tuition rates for students from out-of-state remain very competitive.

Like some of our peer institutions, ASU plans to establish an international tuition rate. This is intended to ensure that we can continue to support the unique needs of our international students, delivering on both the quality of education and the collegiate experience that originally attracted them to ASU. The rate is designed to keep tuition as affordable as possible while continuing to extend such services as immigration advising, academic enrichment and professional development through the International Student and Scholars Center, as well as enhanced career advising, internships and employment services. Even with the new international tuition rate, which represents an 11.6 percent increase for undergraduate international students and a 10.9 percent increase for graduate international students, ASU remains one of the most affordable universities ranked among the top 25 schools for international students.

These adjustments will allow us to sustain a high-quality academic environment and preserve the full value of an ASU degree while maintaining competitive tuition rates. Further decreases in state investment, however, would carry serious risks, including larger classes, upward pressure on tuition and reduced competitiveness for Arizona from an economic development standpoint. It is our hope that this difficult period for Arizona is already passing, and that in the following fiscal years, state policymakers will restore support for public higher education and ASU will regain its full momentum as a model for the New American University.

To see further details of ASU's tuition proposal, click here.

For members of the media needing more information, please contact ASU Media Relations at 480-965-3502.

Students counter violent extremism with social media


April 10, 2015

As social media continues to infiltrate our everyday lives with new ways of connecting and obtaining information, extremist groups such as ISIS are taking advantage of its ease of use and far-reaching implications to spread their message and recruit new members.

In the wake of this disturbing trend, students in Arizona State University professor Steven Corman’s Countering Violent Extremism class, in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, are banding together to counteract the proliferation of cyber-terrorism with a social-media campaign of their own.  two students talking in a classroom Download Full Image

The campaign is part of the Peer 2 Peer: Challenging Extremism program, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State and Edventure Partners, a private organization that works to build academic partnerships between higher education and companies, trade associations, government and nation clients to give students and professors the chance to work together to solve real-world problems.

The program aims to empower university students from 23 schools in the United States, Canada, North Africa, Middle East, Europe, Australia and Asia to develop digital content that counters violent extremist messaging through a semester course for academic credit.

According to the ASU team’s director of communications, senior Aaron Masengale, “Islamophobia is a more pressing issue for students” because the propaganda of extremist groups is often targeted directly at impressionable youth – the peers of students participating in Peer 2 Peer.

“[Those students] are also the best equipped to deal with it,” he said, because of their digital proficiency.

ASU was chosen to participate in the program because of previous work with Edventure Partners and, according to Edventure chief executive officer Tony Sgro, “a specific request was made by the National Counterterrorism Center and its leadership to reach out to ASU because of the strength and reputation of the program professor Corman manages."

"Within the countering violent extremism ‘industry,’ " Sgro said, "ASU has a very good reputation.”

Alyssa Sims, business and global politics major and project manager for the team of ASU students, said their first step was determining what the catalyst is that turns someone into a violent extremist. The team found that in the case of foreign fighters, American Muslims or American Muslim converts who go oversees to join extremist groups, many feel a sense of isolation and a lack of connection to their Muslim community.

“So we started thinking, ‘How do we combat that?’ ” Sims said.

The team came up with the idea for a website that would allow Muslim community members to better connect. But they didn’t want to alienate the community by over-moderating the site or “telling their story for them,” Sims said. “So we thought, maybe our role is to let this group tell their own story.”

“We want to use this as an opportunity not only to counter Islamophobia, but to preach what we are really about,” said team member Saadh Monawar, himself a Muslim.

The result? Yoummah.org: a website distinctive in that it consolidates several tools, such as fundraising and event planning, where the Muslim community has the ability to get the word out about ways people are connecting and contributing positively to society.  

Yoummah is a combination of the English word “you” and the Arabic word “ummah,” which means “community.” The significance of combining the two is the emphasis it puts on the individual’s role in his or her community, according to the team.

The site officially launched April 9 and, though there is a focus on connecting the local Muslim community, it is open to everyone. Users can register for free to post events that they can add photos to, raise funds for or even request specific roles, such as treasurer or project manager, to be filled. Other members can view upcoming events and, if interested, sign up to fill those roles, provide supplies or contribute to the fundraising.

The site is also accessible through other social-media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+, and the team hopes to eventually develop it into an app and take it global.

For Monawar, what surprised him most throughout the project was “that I was able to personally get involved in something that directly affects my community and that could support my future goals in a real, measurable way.”

The Peer 2 Peer program will culminate in a final competition June 4 in Washington, D.C., where three teams of finalists will present their project’s creative briefs to a roster of judges. Their projects will be judged on predetermined metrics, which, for the ASU team, include how many people actually use Yoummah.org and how often the site is mentioned on other sites – for example, through Facebook “likes” or Twitter retweets or hashtags.

The importance of the site's effectiveness is evident when speaking with the team members, who are also utilizing focus groups and speaking with Muslim groups on campus to get feedback.

“We want to make sure the site is helping the people who need it, and actually making a difference,” Sims said.

Professor Corman praised the team's progress.

“The students in the class have done an excellent job of taking a difficult problem and a challenging timeline, and creating a product that their target audience seems excited about,” he said.

Monawar is enthusiastic about the team’s chances of making it to the finals in Washington, D.C.

“I really feel confident we have a product that’s relevant and that works. We know it will work,” he said.

Support the ASU team on by liking them on Facebook, following them on Twitter or donating to help fund Yoummah.org at gofundme.com/helpummah.

The Hugh Downs School of Human Communication is part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Emma Greguska

Reporter, ASU Now

(480) 965-9657