Students discuss proposed state tuition freeze based on first semester price
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 02:02
A bill filed in the Texas House of Representatives could change how Texas colleges charge tuition to their students. If passed, the bill will require four-year or five-year degree programs at universities to lock tuition at the price students pay their first semester.
TX Rep. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston) introduced HB 726 to the House on Jan. 25. The bill’s text states that a university “may not charge tuition to an undergraduate student… at a rate that exceeds the rate the institution charged to the student during the first semester…”
Sam Houston State University students expressed their appreciation for a frozen tuition rate.
“I would really like a fixed tuition,” Courtney Rogers said, freshman criminal justice major. “If it all comes down to the same amount [in the end], then yeah, I would like that.”
The bill is similar to HB 29 introduced by TX Rep. Dan Branch (R-Dallas) on Nov. 12, but differs on the mandatory fixed tuition program. Branch’s HB 29 proposes that a university must offer a fixed tuition plan but the plan is not required for students. In his bill, students’ tuition rates can still rise if they choose a normal tuition plan HB 29 also does not mention anything about five-year students.
Zach Campbell, sophomore mass communication major, said that the bill is a good idea as long as it actually keeps tuition costs down.
“I do like the idea of freezing tuition rates if it means college could become more affordable for students,” Campbell said. “If it got to a point where people couldn’t enroll because the tuition rates are too high then I wouldn’t like the idea.”
According to an article published by The Daily Texan, University of Texas at Austin students did not like the mandatory fixed tuition plan, but preferred Branch’s HB 29 and having the option for a tuition freeze.
“Some families will want [a mandatory tuition freeze],” said UT President William Powers Jr. “They would rather pay a little bit more than they have to so they can budget better. Other families won’t want that. They’d rather pay a little less now and then take the risk that it might go up a little bit later.”
Both bills are still in the filing phase and are to be referred to the Higher Education Committee.