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Arizona universities turn to cities in lieu of state support [1]
Submitted by Kevin Kiley [2] on December 1, 2011 – 3:00am

The two newest public university campuses in Arizona — Northern Arizona University’s campus in Prescott Valley [3], which is in its second year of operation, and Arizona State University’s Lake Havasu campus [4], slated to open in fall 2012 — will be testing grounds for some fairly innovative concepts.

Tuition at both is significantly lower than at the universities’ main campuses. Administrators have pledged to try alternative delivery methods designed to cut down on costs. Both institutions have partnered with local community colleges to teach some classes. And both hope to offer accelerated degree programs.

But the most innovative feature might be one that students never see: how the universities are funded. Unlike other public campuses, neither is receiving direct funding from the state, and both received significant indirect investment from municipal governments and local residents. Whereas the main campuses fund about a quarter of their operations through state appropriations, a percentage that has decreased significantly since 2008, the branch campuses will try to be self-sufficient, operating mostly on tuition revenue, with only some administrative expenses being shared with the main campuses.

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