Thursday, March 10, 2005

State tuition caps may be re-instituted

According to today's Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Senate Finance Committee is trying to find a way to cap public university tuition rates once again. A proposal that would be tied in with the Senate Appropriations bill, SB 1, by Sen. Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands) would place a voluntary cap at $144 per semester credit hour. Universities may exceed this cap, but they would start to lose state funding if they did so.

University of Texas System Chancellor Mark Yudof sees this proposal as an attack upon UT-Austin, where tuition for the current academic year is floating around that proposed cap. He believes, though, that if this proposal is implemented, then universities would revert to their old ways of gaining revenue in the pre-tuition deregulation fashion: to raise fees while tuiton remains stagnant. Yudof has a point here since this tuition proposal is relatively weak.

However, by tomorrow's bill filing deadline, Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) is expected to file bill for the full rollback of tuition deregulation. He was considering a number of proposals, and he has allegedly selected the one containing the "harshest language" for tuition caps. Pete Gallego (D-Alpine) is also expected to file a tuition re-regulation bill, though it's currently unknown as to whether it will only be caps or a full rollback.


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