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Board of regents discusses college pipeline, fee transparency

TEMPE — The Arizona Board of Regents discussed issues with the “college-going pipeline” and transparency of student fees on the last day of its meeting at Arizona State University on Friday.

Regents Chair Mark Killian said K-12 education in Arizona is struggling to send students on to college and that improvements needs to be made. He added that there are many challenges to operating a high quality high school in Arizona and sending students through the “pipeline” to college.

Ten percent of high schools in Arizona have not sent any students to state universities and about 10 percent of high schools are responsible for about half of the incoming college students, according to Eileen Klein, president of the board of regents.

Some of the reasons for half of in-state students coming from a small percentage of high schools have to do with how many students those schools have, Klein said, but their success model should still be analyzed to make improvements throughout the state.

“I’m a firm believer that every kid in the state has the capability,” Klein said. “So, how can we improve the system?”

UA President Ann Weaver Hart said there is a “deep reluctance” to talk about the issue of the college-going pipeline on the State Board of Education among the current K-12 leadership.

“Part of this is a ‘We’re all in this together, we’re not going to point the finger at anyone,’ that absolutely destroys the culture [of post-secondary education] that’s critical to be able to move forward,” Hart said.

She suggested the regents use their relationship with the Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction sitting on the board to better address issues with the state’s K-12 education.

Student Regents Valerie Hanna and Mark Naufel also presented a student regent report to the board for the first time.

Hanna said students are “excited” over the potential changes to the tuition-setting process as proposed by Klein.

Hanna also said students continue to express concern with the transparency of fees. She added that the majority of fees are supported by students and many came about because of students.

“There are just some fees out there that we’re not so sure about,” Hanna said. “It’s not super clear how they came about, what they’re being spent on.”

Student government leaders from Arizona’s three state universities — the UA, ASU and Northern Arizona University — attended the regents meeting at ASU on Thursday.

Naufel said students he’s spoken with have had difficulty finding on-campus employment.

ASU items approved

The board of regents took up two issues important to ASU on Friday. 

The regents voted to approve the first phase of a renovation project to Sun Devil Stadium. A new student section will be added during the phase. 

The stadium renovation project has a budget of $256 million, with $65.7 million allocated during the first phase. 

The regents also approved ASU’s request to complete its integration of the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (10/20)
788 9 1.1%
Total (8/4)
52,142 2,427 4.7%
Includes tests since August 4, 2020
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated October 20, 2020