by REEVE HAMILTON
AUSTIN — Tuition and fees at the state’s public colleges and universities would be capped at their current levels and only be permitted to grow at the rate of inflation under a bill filed Tuesday by state Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown.
Schwertner telegraphed his filing of Senate Bill 233 for the 2015 legislative session in a Sunday column in TribTalk. In the column, he argued that because state lawmakers started allowing university governing boards to set tuition rates without legislative oversight in 2003, “the dream of attaining a college degree is becoming a nightmare for more and more Texas students.”
Average tuition and fees in the state have more than doubled since tuition was deregulated and, as Schwertner noted in a news release announcing his filings, that growth has significantly outpaced the rate of inflation.
“I think the Legislature has a responsibility to consider whether the deregulation policies enacted over a decade ago still make sense for Texas students,” he said in a statement Tuesday.
In addition to SB 233, Schwertner filed Senate Bill 232, which would create state sales tax exemptions for college textbook purchases for a limited time at the beginning of each semester.
REEVE HAMILTON reports for The Texas Tribune where this story was originally published. It is made available here through a news partnership between the Texas Tribune and the San Marcos Mercury.
COVER: Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown). PHOTO by TAMIR KALIFA/THE TEXAS TRIBUNE