A new state law allows incoming freshmen at Texas public universities to lock in a four-year tuition rate that will not increase while they're students.
But the Houston Chronicle explains there's a catch: Students must graduate in four years to realize the savings of a fixed rate. Tuition goes up after four years to the existing rate.
Campus administrators say the results can be mixed. A fixed-rate tuition may be higher than the general tuition to account for inflation. Meanwhile, many students take longer to graduate so they can work their way through school, avoiding debt.
Schools have been under pressure from the Obama administration to improve graduation rates and lower costs. In Texas, the six-year graduation rate is 49 percent and tuition has increased 90 percent since the state deregulated it in 2003.