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Saturday, December 4, 2021

State

Texas Senate passes fixed tuition bill


Exactly a week after the UH Board of Regents approved a four-year fixed tuition plan, the Texas Senate approved Tuesday the bill that would require universities to offer a flat-rate option.

House Bill 29, by House Higher Education Chairman Dan Branch, R-Dallas, was passed in the House without opposition, but a notably different version of it was passed in the Senate this week.

Students and universities must wait to see if the House will go along with the changes or request a conference committee, as the bill was altered to include language adding restriction and requirements on new appointees to the state’s public university system boards, changes that have been occurring in the UH system recently.

In addition to requiring a fixed tuition option, the bill will also prevent new regents from voting on budget or personnel matters until they have completed ethics training, should HS 29 become a law in the form approved by the Senate.

Although Gov. Rick Perry has been a proponent of legislative efforts to require universities to offer a four-year fixed tuition option, there is uncertainty surrounding whether the governor, who appoints all the members of the boards of regents, would sign a bill restricting their authority.

Perry issued a statement on May 17 after the UH system adopted its flat-rate tuition saying, “As families gather around their kitchen tables working to budget and make college a reality, the leadership at Texas Tech University System and University of Houston System have now given them the peace of mind of knowing that tuition will remain the same for four years and at the same time encouraging these students to complete their degrees on time.”

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