September 16, 2021
By Matt Beienburg
Arizona public schools just hit a major milestone — they’re officially more expensive than the full freight tuition cost of sending a child to college at a four-year university here in the Grand Canyon State.
As newly reported by the nonpartisan Joint Legislative Budget Committee, Arizona public schools are now so awash in funding that they will have $14,326 to spend per student in the 2021-2022 school year. By comparison, according to the same budget analysts, tuition and fees at Arizona State University cost around $3,000 less, coming in at $11,348. At Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona, those tuition totals rise only to $11,896 and $12,671, respectively. In other words, attending any of Arizona’s three public universities would cost a family less than taxpayers are kicking in for each student in our public K-12 system.
That’s not a message many proponents of the K-12 education bureaucracy want parents and taxpayers hearing, but then again, neither is the fact that Arizona’s per pupil K-12 funding has risen more than 40% over the past four decades (even adjusting for inflation and even before Arizona’s share of the latest two rounds of the $200 billion of federal Covid stimulus funds are even factored in).
Matt Beienburg is the Director of Education Policy and the Director of the Van Sittert Center for Constitutional Advocacy at the Goldwater Institute.