Legislators Weigh Options for Tuition Deregulation

Ann McClure's picture

The 2013 legislative session will mark the 10th anniversary of a decision by Texas lawmakers to deregulate college tuition, giving the authority to set tuition at public universities to the institutions.

Since deregulation, the average cost of tuition and fees at the state’s public universities has increased by 90 percent, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Some lawmakers are hoping the new session will provide an opportunity to regain control of the price-setting process.

“It’s past time for the Legislature to stop abdicating its responsibility and instead make some tough decisions on tuition,” said Senator Rodney Ellis, Democrat of Houston. He was in the minority when he voted against deregulation in 2003, but he believes the tide may be turning.

Of the 181 members of the state’s coming 83rd Legislature, more than 50 have voted at least once to advance efforts to end tuition deregulation, while fewer than 20 have consistently voted to uphold it. Many have never voted on the issue, and more than 40 members are freshmen.

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