Bill Would Lock in College Tuition in Texas

Incoming freshmen who enroll in Texas public universities wouldn't see their tuition increase for four years under a bill proposed by state Senator Florence Shapiro.

Senate Bill 100 would freeze tuition for incoming freshmen for four years --- five years if a student's major requires extra courses.

Shapiro said she wants to provide predictability in tuition costs, something she believes has been lost since 2003. That's when the legislature authorized universities to set their own tuition rates, which have increased by 40 percent in the ensuing years.

Opponents argue that universities would assume more financial risk and have to increase the upfront costs to incoming students if tuition prices are frozen.

Shapiro says the four-year freeze means students must graduate on time or see their tuition rates increase dramatically.

Baylor, the University of Texas at Dallas and the University of Texas at El Paso have already locked in tuition rates for their incoming classes.

State Senator Judith Zaffirini says that about half of the state's public university students graduate within six years. Shapiro' plan could provide a push for students to graduate more quickly.

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