Lawmakers, college officials spar over tuition control
- College costs in Texas have increased by more than 300% since 1990, a jump a Dallas Morning News’ investigation attributes to legislative control of tuition costs.
- Smaller campuses with more flexible admission objectives saw the greatest jumps in tuition, with Prairie View A&M University and the University of Texas at Dallas both going over 500 percent in increases over the last 25 years.
- Schools say maintaining control of tuition allows campuses to maintain quality and comparability with peer institutions, but lawmakers say schools aren’t operating with affordability for families as a priority.
In North Carolina, legislation has passed a bill to reduce tuition at three public universities to $500 per semester, but questions remain about how the schools will grow with limited revenue and a lack of restorative appropriations to offset the change. In Florida, colleges must present to legislators proof of efforts to make college more affordable and accessible, which could impact jobs and offerings to meet standards for technology infusion with curriculum.
With so many states, mostly those under conservative leadership, calling for reduced costs for families and limits on higher ed spending, colleges and universities throughout the country may soon be boxed into new realities about streamlining majors, research, athletics and economic development. Public college executives must consider carefully the academic offerings which make them unique, and align them with legislative priorities to ensure, as much as possible, sustainable state support into the future.
- The Dallas Morning News Who's a better steward when it comes to Texas college costs?