Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Tuition Dereg debated today

Starting at 7am, the Senate Subcommittee on Higher Education has again revisited the merits of tuition deregulation, a 2003 plan that sought to raise public university funds without a penny more from the state by increasing tuition costs to students and parents at unforseen rates. Last session, Sen. Ellis tacked on an amendment that would've sunsetted tuition dereg by 2008 to a bill that would've improved accountability standards for universities with tuition deregulation. Geanie Morrison (Higher Ed chair in the House, author of tuition dereg, HB 3015, in 2003 and not an owner of a bachelor's degree) never gave it a hearing.

Tuition dereg, aside from increasing tuition, has negatively affected affordability and access at our state's colleges and universities. According to the Daily Texan, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board estimates tuition has increased by 61 percent at state universities overall and 102 percent at UT since tuition deregulation.

Students and parents have had an increasingly hard time paying for tuition hikes since the higher rates and the reluctance on the part of the Legislature to pay for these increases have led to less people receiving TEXAS Grants, the most popular state grant program. Additionally, the inability to predict tuition rates several years down the road has closed the rolls of the Texas Tomorrow Fund since 2003, though Ray Perryman now contests this decision. These are the programs that low and middle income students rely on the most for paying for the increases.

Funny enough, in today's meeting Sen. Williams called tuition hikes "like crack for universities". Williams understated the comparison: crack is a serious problem that destabilizes ghetto communities. Crack poses a lofty goal for the inhabitants: to let some people feel good and get high while bringing in money and resources. The problem is that it really doesn't bring in new money, and it pits neighbor versus neighbor, friend versus friend.

At our universities, it's becoming increasingly hard to gain admission and to stay enrolled (retention) from tightened admission standards and higher tuition rates. Not to mention that it really doesn't bring in all that much new money. For example, tuition has risen 102 percent at UT-Austin. Students feel more of the consequences from higher tuition than its benefits. Right after tuition dereg passed, libraries at the university declared they'd no longer stay open 24 hours a day and 150 staff members would be fired.

Administrators carried out these austerity measures for the same reasons that they raised tuition; yet these university services have not been restored and there is currently no plan to do so. Less and less money is spent on student services even though "flexible tuition" has only gone up.


At 11:42 PM, Blogger john said...

it time for poeple that are not in this state, country leagle to go back were they came and get therefree schooling as a tax payer it timr it stopes.

At 2:52 PM, Blogger Joe said...

Well John, at least you were able to spell your own name correctly.

Your grammar and spelling are enough to convince me that something indeed should be done about these "illeagle" immigrants. Obviously one of them stole your own education.

At 2:54 PM, Blogger Forrest said...

it time for idoits that is dum to stoop complaanin abut ilegals and go back to skool to get sum educashun demselfs.


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