Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tuition Deregulation Paying Off, But For Who?

Here's what the governor had to say back in '03:
I join Speaker Craddick in calling for tuition deregulation so our colleges have greater control over their dollars. In addition to any savings this may generate, it's a matter of principle. If we're going to appoint Boards of Regents, let's give them room to do the job.

By estimating higher education income better, reducing special item projects, and asking community colleges to pay a proportionate share of insurance costs, we could net $1.1 billion in savings and recovered costs.
It also appears that our own Senator Ogden was against tuition deregulation until he was, ahem, assured by the university systems that they would not abuse their power:

In order to gain support for tuition deregulation, the university systems assured members of the legislature they would not abuse the new power. According to the Houston Chronicle, on June 1, 2003, State Sen. Steve Ogden, whose district includes A&M, stated that members of the Texas A&M Board of Regents assured him that tuition rates would not increase dramatically.

On March 26, 2004, less than a year after reportedly telling Ogden that it would not abuse its power to set tuition rates, the Texas A&M Board of Regents increased tuition rates by 21 percent.


[UPDATE]: There's a great report and timeline of the tuition deregualation process here.

If that's not abusing their power I'd hate to see what abuse of power is. Here are the latest results of tuition deregulation. This will not be a problem since low and middle class incomes have been rising so fast lately, sarcasm of course.

UT tuition, fees may rise 9.6% in fall:
Tuition and mandatory fees for undergraduates at the University of Texas at Austin would rise by about $400 in the next two years, to an average of $4,050 a semester, under a proposal to be considered today by the school's governing board.

The plan for a 9.6 percent increase this fall and a 1.3 percent increase in the fall of 2007 has stirred little controversy on campus, where there seems to be a consensus that additional revenue is needed to pay for repairs, hire new faculty members and give raises to faculty and staff members.
A&M regents lean toward tuition hike:
Texas A&M University students would pay an additional 8.9 percent in tuition and fees this fall under a proposal the Board of Regents will consider Friday.
ACCD raises tuition and fees:
Trustees for the Alamo Community College District voted Thursday night to raise students' tuition and fees by 5 percent to offset inflation and a general slump in state money. This is the fourth year in a row tuition has risen.
UNT considers tuition increase of 5.2 percent:
University of North Texas administrators Tuesday proposed a 5.2 percent tuition increase that would push the cost of a full-time undergraduate education past $3,000 a semester.
Texas Tech tuition rising; more hours reduces rate:
Students attending Texas Tech University in the fall will see a 4.5 percent increase in tuition, the board of regents announced Friday.
[UPDATE]: Tech is still thinking or tinkering, Regents order more tinkering on tuition plan:
Texas Tech ended Thursday not knowing what or how it will charge undergraduate students next year after its governing board tabled discussion of tuition and fees.

Regents were leery of a plan that charges students more money for taking fewer classes, concerned that the proposed "incentives-based" plan would punish students who must work to afford school along with those just wanting lighter course loads.
It's always good to see the free market at work.

Chris Bell has a plan to end this, Higher Education in Texas: An Agenda for Opportunity:
Mainstream Texans understand that investing in our higher education system is a much better long-term economic development strategy then giving huge subsidies to big-box superstores. Higher education is the key to helping Texas remain at the cutting edge of tomorrow's economy. The next generation of Texans will join the New Mainstream only when we have a governor who shares these priorities.

Higher Education in Texas: An Agenda For Opportunity
  • Ending tuition deregulation to keep college affordable for middle class families.
  • Giving our public universities the state funding they need to remain world-class.
  • Giving students a break at the bookstore by making textbooks tax-free.
  • Vigorously defending the TEXAS Grant program and other initiatives to make a college degree accessible to all Texans willing to put in the hard work.
  • Recognize the role community colleges fill in our state's economic development.

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