Hobbs says UA should not balance budget shortfall by cutting financial aid

Howard Fischer

Capitol Media Services

Gov. Katie Hobbs said Monday she doesn’t believe the University of Arizona should be balancing its newly disclosed budget shortfall by cutting financial aid which is being considered.

The governor said she is still looking for answers from UA officials about how its estimates of the cash it had on hand for the current fiscal year was off by about $240 million. What that has done is left the school with just 97 days of cash on hand, versus the 156 days that had been projected.

UA, University of Arizona, financial aid, budget shortfall, Hobbs

University of Arizona President Robert Robbins

And UA President Robert Robbins, in speaking to the regents, said at least part of the problem relates to what the university has had to do to attract students.

“That costs money,” he said, pegging that at about $300 million a year. And not all of it, said Robbins, was based on need, with “a lot of it in merit support.

“We found great success in the students we attracted because we invested a lot of money in student success and attracting students, primarily through financial aid,” said Robbins.

Hobbs, however, said she did not like the idea of dealing with the university’s financial problems by cutting aid.

“I think it’s important that we make college as accessible as possible for Arizonans,” she said.”I don’t think financial aid should be the answer.”

But it may be that changes cannot be avoided. Regent Larry Penley, addressing Robbins at a board meeting earlier this month, said the UA has “overspent” its scholarship money.


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November 2023