Governor Perry will be in Dallas Monday to promote his plan for making college more affordable. But some universities think his plan is a one way street.
The blame game over who’s at fault for higher Texas tuition goes back to 2003. There was a budget crunch that year and the legislature cut state funding for higher education. To make up the loss, lawmakers gave public universities the authority to raise tuition, something the legislature had previously decided.
According to a recent Dallas Morning News analysis, public university students now pay 55% more for tuition and fees.
Governor Perry’s wants to rein in the spiraling tuition costs by requiring universities guarantee students the same tuition costs for four years.
But before universities consider that they may want some guarantees of their own.
UTA President James Spaniolo says if the legislature is unwilling to provide stable state funding, universities will be reluctant to freeze tuition which helps pay the bills.
“It’s hard to make these judgments about leveling tuition for a four year period without knowing anything about what funding is going to be coming from the state, Spaniolo said.”
“I think that’s why the two need to go together. Predictable stable funding from the legislature makes it possible for us to be much more restrained in the charges we make for tuition and other fees.”
UT Arlington says the portion of its budget paid for by state money has dropped from 45% a decade ago to just 21% this year.
Unlike many Texas universities, UTA did not raise its tuition or fees this year.
An economic study just released says one new important source of funding for UTA is philanthropic gifts and pledges which increased 55% in the past year.