On March 31, the Martin Center filed an amicus brief urging the Arizona Supreme Court to hold that the Constitution’s mandate that “the instruction furnished shall be as nearly free as possible” is a justiciable question.
The Martin Center argued that sustained increases are incompatible with the provision in Arizona’s Constitution that “the instruction furnished [at public colleges and universities] shall be as nearly free as possible.” Ariz. Const. art. XI, § 6.
Specifically, Arizona’s continual tuition increases aren’t justified by instructional needs or compatible with delivering a reliable return on investment for students. Rather, they are tied to rising operational costs, such as unnecessary increases in the number of non-instructional programs and staff. This administrative bloat does not contribute meaningfully to student learning or post-graduation success—graduation rates have only increased modestly despite very large increases in spending.
Public colleges and universities have a responsibility to provide value to students, parents, taxpayers, and society; excessively raising tuition runs counter to that mandate.
The full brief is available to download here.