Key Senator Pitches Four-year Freeze on Texas College Tuition

AUSTIN - Tuition should be frozen at all Texas colleges and universities for four years, or at least until they can prove they deserve the price hike, according to one of the state's top lawmakers.Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, who chair the Senate Higher Education Committee, on Thursday proposed three bills that would dramatically alter the control universities have over how much it costs to go to college in Texas. Two of the bills are top priorities of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and will likely pass in the Republican-dominated Texas Senate. Senate Bill 19 would freeze tuition for four years. Senate Bill 18 will undo Texas' tuition set-aside program, which requires all public colleges and universities to use 15 percent of the tuition revenue it brings as financial aid for needy students. Senate Bill 543, not one of Patrick's priorities, would require schools to reach certain benchmarks before being able to raise tuition. Seliger says his proposal all focus on increasing "tuition relief and predictability" for Texas students and their families."We will have the opportunity to implement a long-term tuition reform solution which holds institutions accountable and ensures they remain accessible and affordable," Seliger said in a statement. "The focus should be on how to make higher education more accessible and affordable, rather than how to get the state, and students, to pay more."Last year, The Dallas Morning News investigated which students get financial through the set-aside program. More than 121,000 students from poor and middle-income families benefit from the funds, all of whom had to demonstrate need to get the money. This is a developing story. Check back here for more updates.  Continue reading...

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