‘Take some accountability’: UA financial crisis raises concerns, questions among students

Four students share their thoughts on the UA’s $240 million budget oversight and possible financial aid cuts

By Brianna McCord, El Inde Arizona

The University of Arizona’s revelation of its “financial crisis” at a Faculty Senate meeting last week has raised many questions and concerns by students and faculty alike.

UA President Robert Robbins said there had been a “miscalculation” in the number of days of cash on hand.  Initially, the university projected 156 days, but new projections show only 97 days of cash on hand, amounting to a $240 million oversight.

The oversight is going to result in “draconian cuts,” Robbins said, which could include hiring freezes, leasing university land and budget cuts to sports programs — and cuts to merit scholarships and other financial aid. The Guaranteed Tuition Program that freezes tuition rates from your freshman year also is up for consideration. 

Here’s what some students had to say about it:

“I wouldn’t be able to go to school. It’s as simple as that. I’m from a small town near Mexico so if they cut my money, I just can’t go to school anymore. The UA would lose a lot of students. I would ask him what happened. Why did this happen? What caused this to happen? Was it solvable in the past? Did anyone see it coming? Were there warnings?” 

— Jahaziel Galvan, 20, biomedical engineering major

“It would be our responsibility to take care of our student fees. The dynamic wouldn’t be that we would be able to take that money from the university in the way that the university is proposing to take that money away from us. Honestly, I don’t think I would be very happy if I were to see (President Robbins) right now. I think I would just ask him how could this have happened? How could so much money be handled so irresponsibly? How can that much money just go missing and be handled like that?”

— Hope Carney, 19, anthropology major

“I came here because they gave me the merit scholarship to cover most of my schooling. If we couldn’t pay, I’m assuming they wouldn’t let us take classes here. At least that’s where my mind goes to is that if you can’t pay for it, then they wouldn’t let you be a student here. I think it would affect a lot of students if they (cut financial aid). I’d be interested in hearing how that happened. ”

— Kaleigh Wittenburg, 19, fashion merchandising major

“I’m relying heavily on the merit scholarships, so that will suck. That will be horrible if they cut back on the merit scholarships. I really hope they don’t. I want to know how the oversight happened. What were the steps that caused it? How did that even happen in the first place? How are they going to avoid this in the future? I feel like for something that big, you got to let us know, especially if we’re gonna pay the price. At least take some accountability for that towards the students.” 

— Gaby Lopez, 18, computer science major

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