July 11, 2008
College tuition, the continuing story

Consider this to be another warmup for the next Legislative session.

Tuition at Texas universities rose 58 percent between 2003, when schools were first allowed to set their own rates, and 2007. Student fees have gone up, too.

"With tuition and gas, it's hard to make ends meet,"said Charlotte Atkinson, 26, a senior at the University of Houston, where tuition rose 67 percent.

If legislators can't offer tuition relief, Atkinson suggests students be given more leeway on fees -- all UH students pay the recreation fee, for example, whether they use the recreation center or not.

Average course fees at UH went up 107 percent between 2003 and 2007, from $298 per semester to $616, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Legislators are tired of taking the blame for the escalating price of a college education, and some -- mainly Democrats -- say they want to resume setting tuition themselves. University leaders argue that the additional money is crucial for attracting and retaining top faculty.

Gov. Rick Perry, for the record, continues to support deregulation and thinks Texas universities "are still a bargain," spokeswoman Allison Castle said. "The market is setting (tuition), instead of an artificial cap from the state Legislature."

Funny, but the old way worked pretty well for a long time, like back when Rick Perry was attending Texas A&M. The question is how many Republican legislators running for re-election will climb out on that limb with Perry as he promotes this unpopular scheme. Not a lot would be my guess.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 11, 2008 to Budget ballyhoo
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