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Real Estate Development And Fees On Agenda For ABOR Board Meeting

The Arizona Board of Regents says it’s developing an official policy around public university real estate transactions. Initial discussions will take place at this week’s board meeting.

Officials say the need for the plan became apparent after Arizona State University began developing its innovation corridor in Tempe, a space that includes a mix of university and non-university operations.

Lorenzo Martinez, ABOR’s vice president for finance and administration, explained he expects more income generating projects like this to emerge as budgets tighten at Arizona’s public universities. But he adds there’s an oversight hole for this type of real estate activity.

"We’re initially hoping that by January we could have some policy put together," Martinez said. "We’ll see if we can accomplish that."

Other major topics on the agenda for Thursday and Friday include policy reforms for how tuition and fees are developed.

Officials say they plan to develop a work group to survey each school's fee development process, inventory existing fees and examine how fees are structured.

Martinez said while the board has to approve university tuition and fee changes, the board is hoping to get a better idea of back end development and possibly develop stronger system controls.

"It’s sort of a black hole right now on how universities develop their fees," he said.

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Carrie Jung Senior Field Correspondent, Education Desk Carrie Jung began her public radio career in Albuquerque, N.M., where she fell in love with the diverse cultural scene and unique political environment of the Southwest. Jung has been heard on KJZZ since 2013 when she served as a regular contributor to the Fronteras Desk from KUNM Albuquerque. She covered several major stories there including New Mexico's Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and Albuquerque's failed voter initiative to ban late-term abortions. Jung has also contributed stories about environmental and Native American issues to NPR's Morning Edition, PRI's The World, Al Jazeera America, WNYC's The Takeaway, and National Native News. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in marketing, both from Clemson University. When Jung isn't producing content for KJZZ she can usually be found buried beneath mounds of fabric and quilting supplies. She recently co-authored a book, "Sweet And Simple Sewing," with her mother and sister, who are fabric designers.