News Release from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 4, 2009
Contact: Celeste Villarreal
512/463-0121

Senate Passes Zaffirini's Tuition Deregulation Bill

(AUSTIN) — The Texas Senate on Monday (May 4) unanimously voted to cap college tuition and fees and tie them to state appropriations.

Senate Bill (SB) 1443 by Senator Judith Zaffirini, Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, would provide financial relief to students and their families, while recognizing the shared responsibility of the legislature and higher education institutions to keep college affordable and accessible without sacrificing excellence.

The bill focuses on total academic costs, not simply on tuition; caps increases and links them to formula funding; offers an optional 4-year guaranteed tuition rate; includes additional cost-cutting measures; and establishes legislative oversight.

A priority of Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, the bill is co-sponsored by 26 senators. It would provide tuition relief and increase access to higher education by limiting the amount general academic teaching institutions are permitted to raise designated tuition for a given biennium based on the amount of general revenue appropriated by the state.

"I am delighted that the Lieutenant Governor and 31 senators voted to provide financial relief to Texas families," Senator Zaffirini said. "Keeping college affordable without sacrificing excellence is among my top higher education priorities."

Specifically, SB 1443 would cap increases in total academic costs to the lesser of the rate of inflation or five percent and links tuition and fees to formula funding.

"Hard work during the interim based on a charge from Lt. Gov. Dewhurst and collaboration with university students and leaders across the state resulted in this bill," Senator Zaffirini said. "Only by reaching consensus among them and their respective senators could we pass this legislation."

SB 1443 was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration. The continued progress of this and all bills authored by Senator Zaffirini can be monitored via the internet at www.legis.state.tx.us or by contacting the Texas Legislative Reference Library's toll free in-state hotline, 1-877-824-7038.

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