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Arizona Board of Regents releases 2020 reports on Arizona public universities
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Arizona Board of Regents releases 2020 reports on Arizona public universities

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In a meeting held June 9-11 at Northern Arizona University, the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) presented reports on college completion and research expenditures at Arizona’s three public universities.

According to the ABOR Fiscal Year 2020 College Completion Report, Arizona public universities granted more degrees in 2020 than at any other point in the state’s history. This was the 15th consecutive year this number increased. However, the number of Arizona residents who have a bachelor’s degree is still less than the national average (29% and 35% respectively, according to the report).

ABOR has made it their goal to address this deficit through a promise to “increase post-secondary access and attainment for Arizona students; to seek solutions to societal challenges; and to do both while increasing quality, affordability and efficiency” at their universities.

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As solutions, ABOR cited an increasing percentage of students at AZ public universities coming from Arizona and historically under-represented populations. A total of 21,425 and 9,463 bachelor’s degrees were awarded to these groups in 2020, an increase of 2.7% and 7.3% respectively from 2019.

NAU’s statistics in the college completion report were similar to overall trends for Arizona public universities. The university saw a slight rise in undergraduate degrees, a continuation of its growth since 2010, the earliest data in the report. A total of 6,259 students graduated from NAU with a bachelor’s degree in 2020, and 1,489 received a graduate degree. Degrees in health and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields had the greatest increase.

The June meeting was also Larry E. Penley’s last as chair of ABOR. He has served two terms, first taking the position in 2019. In his time as chair, Penley oversaw projects such as the New Economy Initiative and ABOR’s COVID-19 response.

“Chair Penley is an exceptional leader, mentor and friend. I appreciate his selfless leadership, including during one of the most challenging times for our enterprise during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Executive Director John Arnold said in an ABOR press release. “As always, Chair Penley rose to the challenge and led our board through his extraordinary intellect and wisdom that has served our enterprise exceptionally well for the past two years.”

 The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing Thursday on NCAA student athletes and name, image, and likeness as well as basic health and safety standards for student athletes.A federal law governing how college athletes can earn money off their fame and celebrity seems certain to pass at some point."College sports has become a multi- billion-dollar business that has a financial monopoly over its commodified athletes," former track and field athlete at University of California Los Angeles told lawmakers."As a female athlete in the sport of track and field that has no professional American League, my window of opportunity to capitalize off my name, image and likeness during the peak time of my athletic career was completely stripped away."There is no real debate among lawmakers on Capitol Hill about whether athletes should be permitted to monetize their name, image and likeness.For some lawmakers, federal regulation of college sports should not end with NIL and the time is right to tackle other issues from long-term health care and educational opportunities for athletes to more uniform and enforceable safety standards."More than just NIL standards. We need basic health and safety standards. We need guarantees of educational opportunity so that athletes will be more than just 'a slab of meat'," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said Thursday during a hearing held by the Senate Commerce Committee. Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

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