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Volume 70, Issue 113, Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Lawmakers seek limits on tuition

Some bills would cap tuition hikes; others propose ending deregulation

Cougar News Staff

A proposal from a state senator to limit state universities' tuition isn't the only such idea being considered in Austin, and some proposals go as far as suggesting an end to deregulated tuition.

Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, proposed a $94-per-semester-credit-hour cap on designated tuition, the portion of public universities' tuition the schools may set themselves. Williams' proposal made it into the budget the Senate Finance Committee approved Monday.

Meanwhile, Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, has filed a bill that would limit increases in designated tuition to 5 percent a year.

His proposal calls for universities to lower their tuition and fees for the 2005-06 academic year to no more than 5 percent more than what they were for 2002-03. University regents could then increase tuition by no more than 5 percent a year after 2006.

A similar bill in the House from Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, would place a 3 percent limit on tuition increases each year.

Gallego and Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, have also filed bills that would remove regents' power to set tuition entirely. The Legislature gave state-supported universities the power to do that in 2003.

"You have tuition increases ranging from 20 percent to 50 percent," Coleman told the Houston Chronicle. "That's a sticker shock to middle-class families in Texas that they've never seen before."

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