Schwertner’s proposal includes capping college fees at their current levels and requiring public universities to submit their annual report on cost transparency to the Legislature.
AUSTIN, TX — Today, Senator Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) filed legislation to make higher education more affordable for Texas families by addressing the significant cost growth at Texas’ public colleges and universities. Schwertner’s SB 235 would cap student fees at their current level for one year and prohibit any future increases from exceeding the rate of inflation, unless approved by a majority vote of the student body.
“It is important that students have a say in how quickly and by how much fees are raised,” said Schwertner, “as student fees are a less obvious, but a significant and growing portion of higher education costs.”
As higher education costs continue to outpace inflation, almost half of bachelor graduates in Texas leave their institution saddled with student loan debt. In 2017, new college graduates had debt balances that averaged more than 50 percent of their first-year wages, according to data from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. By keeping fees in check and allowing students to speak for themselves on future increases, the expense of earning a college degree will become less of a burden to new graduates.
“Will the cost of a college education continue to rise until it’s no longer an option for the majority of Texas students?” Schwertner asked. “This bill represents a modest step towards keeping the dream of higher education affordable and attainable for hardworking students and their families.”
Senator Schwertner also announced the filing of SB 236 to give Texans greater insight into where higher education funds are being spent. The legislation would require the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to provide a copy of their annual affordability and accessibility reports to the Governor, Lt. Governor, Speaker and each member of the Texas Legislature. By receiving this in-depth information on a timely basis, lawmakers would be able to better design legislation to benefit both institutions and their students.
In November 2018, Dr. Charles Schwertner was reelected to serve the citizens of Senate District 5, a ten-county region of central and east Texas.