Arizona Universities Cope With Swift and Drastic Cuts

Governor OKs $142 million in cuts; thousands of students plan to protest at state capitol.

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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer approved $142 million in cuts to higher education Sunday in order to alleviate a $1.6 billion midyear budget deficit, the Arizona Daily Wildcat reports. University presidents in Arizona estimate that the education cuts are $40 million more than their institutions can handle, and they are now scrambling to absorb such swift and drastic reductions. Layoffs, overloaded classes, and tuition increases are possible, if not likely. Already, Arizona State has forced its 12,000 employees to take furloughs to cut costs.

Students are not taking the cuts lying down. Hundreds plan to descend upon the Arizona capitol Wednesday and stage a news conference and a protest, the Arizona Daily Star reports. Organizers have rented 25 buses to get students to Phoenix, and even university faculty members are giving students a pass or extra credit for missing class.

The University of Arizona and Arizona State expect 1,000 students to attend, and Northern Arizona University student leaders expect 500.