The Show on KJZZ

Listen live weekdays at 9 a.m.

Here are the steps Hobbs wants the University of Arizona to take to deal with its budget problems

By Wayne Schutsky
Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2024 - 3:28pm
Updated: Wednesday, March 6, 2024 - 3:50pm

old main
Library of Congress
Old Main, the signature building on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson, Arizona.

After meeting with leadership from the University of Arizona and the Arizona Board of Regents on Wednesday, Gov. Katie Hobbs laid out steps she would like them to take as the university contends with a large budget shortfall. 

Hobbs says she would like the Board of Regents to provide her office with monthly financial updates and hire external experts to help improve financial procedures. 

She also wants them to resolve issues surrounding the university’s acquisition of Ashford University, which added hundreds of millions in operating expenses and could put the university on the hook to pay back student loans taken out by Ashford students who felt cheated by the university, according to Axios Phoenix.

“From day one when the financial mismanagement at the University of Arizona became public, my goal has been to restore the public’s faith and trust in this institution,” Hobbs said in a statement. “There is a long road ahead of us to fix the financial mismanagement and ensure the university emerges from this situation stronger than it was before.”

The governor also addressed how she would like to see the university approach budget cuts to address its approximately $177 million deficit. UA President Robert Robbins already said the university would need to cut department budgets and lay off employees.

Hobbs said the university should prioritize retaining working-class staff, Arizona-based employees and people who have worked for the university for a long time. 

Hobbs also said a new advisory council, announced last week by Robbins as a new effort in shared governance, should include groups representing staff and students. However, the model appears at odds with a Republican bill at the Arizona Legislature that would consolidate power with the Board of Regents and university presidents

On Tuesday, Hobbs wouldn’t comment on whether she would sign that bill, saying she had not yet read it. 

More stories from KJZZ

BusinessPolitics Education