Arizona government exempts athletes from tuition: could UNC Charlotte be next?

| April 3, 2012 | 0 Comments

A new bill, HB 2675, is the hot topic in Arizona where it may or may not take effect. This bill requires that everyone in the Arizona State University system to pay an additional $2,000 each year to the school they are attending.

There is one exception to this- athletes. This means only football players and other athletes will be exempt from the tuition increase and not students from low income families who can’t afford it.

As a college student, I know how hard it is to save up and figure out ways to pay for school. Many students wouldn’t be able to go to college if it weren’t for scholarships and knowing that, they work very hard in order to attain said scholarships.

Yet the Arizona government somehow thinks that going to football practice every night is harder work than studying. The idea for this bill came from the information that nearly half of the students in the Arizona State University System did not pay tuition due to financial aid. However, this information turned out to be untrue with the actual percentage close to 25 percent.

What I can’t understand is how they can justify allowing athletes to be exempt from this bill. What makes playing a sport more important than studying? If anything it’d be easier to justify why the gaining of knowledge should be rewarded more than throwing a football.

Rep. Michelle Ugenti, a Republican from Arizona, showed no sympathy to students pleading for the bill to be repealed. Ugenti’s only reply was, “Welcome to life.”

With the presidential elections coming up in the fall, public education is a topic many people feel should be discussed more often. Loans and debt are a burden many college students are forced to deal with.

According to the NY Times, the average college debt rose to twenty four thousand dollars in 2009. Another study shows that 85 percent of college graduates have to move back in with their parents because they can’t afford to pay for rent on top of loans.

If HB 2675 goes through it could potentially encourage other states to try this sort of budget cutting.

At UNC Charlotte significant tuition hikes have already been approved by the board. That’s right, you’ll be paying an extra $417 next year because of the budget cuts and fees for things such as construction projects and athletics. What Arizona is proposing may seem absurd but the truth is we really aren’t that far behind them.

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