FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 4, 2006
(512) 463-0120 office
McALLEN -- State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa said Wednesday that he is filing legislation to impose a three-year moratorium on tuition increases so that middle-class families can once again afford to send their children to public colleges and universities in Texas.
College tuition rates have soared to record levels since state leaders pushed through a controversial deregulation bill three years ago, Hinojosa said
“Deregulation turned out to be little more than a middle-class tax hike,” Sen. Hinojosa said. “It priced too many families out of the college market and weakened our ability to compete with graduates from China, India, and other countries that are investing in their young people’s higher education.”
Senator Hinojosa’s legislation will:
- Impose a three-year moratorium on tuition and fee increases
- Allow a single yearly increase after the three-year moratorium
- Cap yearly increases at five percent
Parents and students are finding it impossible to budget college costs each year because of unpredictable tuition and fee increases, which are rising faster than family incomes or available student aid, Senator Hinojosa said. A recent national report card by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education gave Texas an “F” for affordability in higher education.
Senator Hinojosa said tuition and fees have gone up dramatically at the state’s flagship universities:
- University of Texas—Austin 47 percent
- University of Texas—Brownsville 59 percent
- University of Texas—Pan American 38 percent
- University of Texas—San Antonio 50 percent
- Texas A&M—College Station 49 percent
- Texas A&M—Corpus Christi 28 percent
In addition, Senator Hinojosa said, the steep rise in tuition and fees has forced the state for three consecutive years to suspend the popular Texas Tomorrow Fund pre-paid college plan. Created a decade ago, the $1.5 billion fund allowed families to lock in the future costs of their children's college tuition at today's prices. But the plan remains closed to new enrollees because out-of-control tuition hikes have created uncertainty and a widening gap between the most expensive and the least expensive of the state's 35 public colleges and universities.
"It’s unacceptable that families who work hard and play by the rules should be shut out of the colleges they help fund with their tax dollars," Senator Hinojosa said. "It's time to take action to make college affordable for those who need it most."
“It’s time to give families a tax cut they can use,” Hinojosa said.
Senator Hinojosa has earned a reputation as a champion for higher education in Senate District 20, including successfully securing $84.7 million for new building construction at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and the University of Texas-Pan American.