Rep proposes tuition freeze

Rising tuition cost can be a critical factor for some students when deciding to start and sometimes finish degrees on time at UH.’

The state Legislature is reviewing bill HB 21, authored by state Rep. David McQuade Leibowitz, which will freeze tuition as early as fall 2010 for incoming college freshmen for four to five years depending on the type of degree they seek.

UH Provost John Antel said he supports of any measure that will keep tuition low, but said ‘some plans that call for a freeze for one group of students will impose higher cost on other groups of students.”

Rep. Leibowitz designed the bill to make college tuition more predictable and to encourage students to graduate in a timelier manner.

The Legislature is focusing on college costs in response to the 30 percent jump in tuition rates over the past 10 years, the federal Department of Education reported.

UH annually raised tuition by $4 per semester hour from 1999 to 2003. It has raised tuition a total of $97.78 per semester hour since 1999.’

The largest spike in tuition increase for the University was in fall 2004, when UH tuition rose $33.85 per semester hour.’

The tuition freeze will apply to undergraduate students entering any two-year public college or four-year public university. After eight semesters of paying a fixed amount for tuition, the amount will start to go up if students have not yet earned their degrees.’

‘We want to find ways to make it easier to graduate from UH,’ Antel said.’

Antel said students should remember that although rising tuition is difficult to pay, it does directly benefit the student population.’

‘Increases in tuition helps student success by providing funding for more scholarships, more advisers, more financial aid advisers and many other amenities that play a part in student success,’ Antel said.’

Though students already enrolled at UH cannot directly reap the benefit of tuition freeze, students like marketing junior Amanda Garcia said some students with siblings in high school will see the effects of a tuition freeze.’

‘Many students pay for their education one semester at a time, and a fixed tuition will make planning for college cost easier,’ Garcia said. ‘This way, they are not dropping out the next semester because they couldn’t afford the rising tuition.”

Marketing junior Daniel Barrois said the bill is good incentive for students to graduate faster.’

‘Many of the students at C.T. Bauer (College of Business) are commuters who work full-time jobs while going to school,’ Barrois said. ‘This makes it very difficult to graduate on time, especially if you want to keep the tuition fixed.”

Barrois said freezing tuition is a good idea if you can graduate on time.

‘I just wish it could have been affected when I was a freshman,’ Barrios said. ‘It doesn’t impact me now.”

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