Students at the University of Arizona said they wanted predictable tuition rates and their feedback prompted the university to propose a guaranteed tuition schedule for incoming freshmen.
UA officials met with students in the winter, and they said it would help with financial planning to avoid tuition increases each year, said Ann Weaver Hart, the UA president.
Students also said it will motivate them to graduate in four years, Hart said, because according to the plan the Arizona Board of Regents approved, the locked-in tuition rate is only guaranteed for eight semesters.
Tuition is one component of the UA's financial picture, another being state funding.
Hart said she and other university officials carefully crafted their budget requests for the fiscal year that begins in July. She was disappointed when the Arizona Legislature "cherry picked different components" from the list of UA needs, Hart said.
"The result of that in the hurly-burly of politics is funding for NAU and ASU at much higher levels for two years in a row than for the University of Arizona," she said. "We need to think about the future of this state, and I was disappointed because we'd all worked so hard as a team to put forward what we thought was in the best interest of Arizona."
One program that did get funding from the state in next year's budget is the UA's cooperative extension program.
That program budget was cut by 35 to 40 percent during the economic downturn, Hart said, and has not received additional funding in the years since, but did receive a funding boost in the 2014-2015 budget, she said.
"That funding doesn't support the rest of the $1.6 billion mission of the University of Arizona, and only $2 million came to the university for that," she said.
The UA saved the state about $9.6 million during the recession by refinancing its debt, Hart said.
"We planned being frugal as we were asked to be. Those dollars were swept back and used to fund additional dollars for all three universities and don't even begin to make up the money we've saved, so it feels like mixed messages to all of us and we need to rethink that," Hart said.