The three state universities must cut their payrolls by 2.75 percent.
All state employees face the pay cut under a legislative budget-balancing plan, but universities were originally exempt in that plan. On Friday the Arizona Board of Regents ordered the universities to do their part and take the same cut.
The move could save the state about $20 million.
The university presidents have until May 29 to make the pay cuts.
The presidents weren't immediately sure on the dollar figures that go with the cuts and were trying to determine whether pay cuts or layoffs would be best.
"We had already asked the universities to cut to the bone," said regents President Ernest Calderón.
The $2.4 billion university system was cut by $231.5 million in the past two years. About 2,000 jobs were cut and thousands of employees were furloughed.
"I think the objective here is to make certain that everybody in the state is carrying their share of the stresses and the strains. The universities have been doing that and now we're being asked to do more of that," said Arizona State University president Michael Crow.
Students have shouldered the burden, too. On Thursday the regents approved steep tuition and fee increases.
Additionally, the regents ordered the university presidents to come up with a contingency plan for new revenues and further budget cuts if voters reject Proposition 100.
Prop. 100 would create a temporary 1-cent sales tax to ease the state budget crisis. If it fails, the Legislature is poised to cut more than $100 million from the university system.
The UA's share of that cut would be about $40 million on top of $100 million in cuts in the past two years. UA President Robert Shelton has said he would manage it by cutting jobs and financial-aid spending.
Contact reporter Becky Pallack at 807-8012 or email@example.com