Via the DMN Trailblazer’s blog and reporter Robert T. Garrett:
In the waning hours of the 2009-2010 legislative session, the House approved a cap on tuition for all state universities in Texas. The bill–HCR 288–which will limit tuition increases to 3.95 percent each year, is currently awaiting approval by the Senate. The bill, if signed into law by Governor Perry, will take effect for the next three academic years (i.e. 2010-2011, 2011-2012 and 2012-2013).
In real dollars, this limits tuition increases to a maximum of $280 per year. The bill also contains a provision that for the 2013-2014 academic year, tuition increases will be limited to either 3.95 percent or a three-year average of the consumer price index (CPI). In that case, the higher of those two values will be the limit.
The University of Texas system received a similar mandate from its Board of Regents in 2007 when tuition was capped at 4.95 percent or $300 per academic year. Back then, undergraduates paid an average of $7,700-$8,900 per year, depending on major. According to the December 2007 DMN story:
Setting tuition is a relatively new power for university regents in Texas. The Legislature used to decide how much public colleges could charge. But in 2003, amid a big budget shortfall, lawmakers let universities set their rates.
Since then, the average tuition and fees have soared in Texas – more than 40 percent, adjusting for inflation. Colleges say they’ve had to charge students more because they don’t get enough money from the state, and they’ve got to keep teaching students and paying faculty.
And according to The Daily Texan’s Mohini Madgavkar, the state pays $300 less per student, while students must pay $1,500 more per student since deregulation.
But while tuition has risen considerably since 2003, UT officials said they have not seen any noticeable drop in application or enrollment. According to the head of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Raymund Paredes:
“We know this can’t last forever. . . . We will see it; we just haven’t seen it yet.”
Stay tuned to see if this bill passes the senate before the clock strikes midnight and the UT tower turns into an orange pumpkin.