The presidents of all three public universities in Arizona met in Phoenix Tuesday for a forum discussing accessibility, retainability, and the future of higher education in the state.

“Seven out of 10 new jobs coming to Arizona are going to require some sort of higher education, so for us, this is a really important part of the economy, said Todd Sanders, the president and CEO of Greater Phoenix Chamber.

Companies like Intel have invested millions into the state, including two new factories which will add thousands of new jobs. Intel says it hires more from Arizona State University than anywhere else in the world.

“The health and success of our universities is absolutely critical to Intel and it’s critical for the semiconductor ecosystem that we’ve built here in the State of Arizona, said Angela Creedon, the public affairs director at Intel Arizona.

But the presidents of Arizonas Big Three Arizona State University, University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University say there is a problem: there is just not enough money being invested into them.

“When I got here, more than 60% of the university’s budget at ASU came from state appropriation. Now only 8% does. And we’re producing five times as many graduates as we were before, said Dr. Michael Crow, the president of ASU.

The University of Arizona in Tucson is still digging itself out of a recent financial crisis. Its president said it will take time to get back on track.

Universities also have a perception problem, according to these presidents. Some say they are indoctrination mills and that they cost way too much for what you get in return.

“For most degrees, it’s just a check box that we don’t necessarily need for our profession, we just need the experience, which is more important than the actual degree itself, said Allie Klein, a sophomore at ASU.

Despite funding and other challenges, all three schools’ officials say making themselves more accessible is key to a brighter future in Arizona.