Editorials

Lawmakers won’t relish setting university tuition

THE EDITORIAL BOARD

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has said Legislature might take back responsibility for setting state university tuition and fees.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has said Legislature might take back responsibility for setting state university tuition and fees. AP

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has warned Texas public universities that the Legislature will be on their backs next year for sharp increases in tuition and fees.

“Everything is on the table,” Patrick said Tuesday at an Austin news conference. That includes taking authority for setting tuition rates away from the universities and restoring it as a legislative responsibility.

Lawmakers huff and puff about increases in university tuition just like Patrick did, but they’re not likely to relish the possibility of having that be their job.

They’ve been there and done that. Legislators set university tuition until 2003, when a budget crunch led them to allow universities to raise their own charges.

Patrick’s not talking about creating any new revenue streams, just that universities should be “fiscally responsible” and “scrub their budgets.”

University officials have pointed out that tuition at 29 of the 38 state universities grew faster under the last decade of legislative control than it did in the decade after the schools set their own student costs.

  Comments