Gov. Jan Brewer urged the Arizona Board of Regents and the three state university presidents to support her budget proposal, which calls for an additional $59 million for universities.

Her proposal also calls for Arizona to accept federal funding by expanding Medicaid coverage, which would free state money to be distributed to other agencies, including Northern Arizona University, the University of Arizona and Arizona State University.

“A quality education is the surest path to individual prosperity and growth,” Brewer told the regents during their regular meeting Thursday at ASU.

NAU President John Haeger praised the governor’s proposal, saying, “I can’t think of a better plan that invests in Arizona and the people of this state.” Earlier in the week, the Arizona Daily Sun published a column by Haeger detailing his support.

ASU President Michael Crow and UA President Ann Weaver Hart also spoke in favor of the executive budget, and the regents passed a resolution endorsing the request.

Also during the meeting, the regents voted to change the way universities collect fees for the Arizona Students Association. Students will now have to “opt in” to donate $2 to the group rather than have the fee automatically added to their bill each semester.

An ASU-led change in personnel policy gained approval when the regents OK’d a new staff employment classification that allows for at-will employment in which the employer or employee could terminate the employment relationship at any time. The classification, which goes into effect July 1, would be applicable to all non-faculty employees.

Haeger has said that NAU will not adopt the policy.