Potential changes could raise tuition - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Potential changes could raise tuition

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Amarillo, TX - Some potential changes to the higher education system in Texas could raise the quality of education, but raise tuition rates right along with it.

Earlier today (Oct. 25), the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board submitted a list of recommended changes to school policies in colleges and universities to the state legislature.

The THECB is a committee that serves within the state legislature, and works with lawmakers in an effort to progress the state's education system toward long-term goals.

The Board's mission statement on the website reads:

"The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board will promote access to quality higher education across the state with the conviction that access without quality is mediocrity and that quality without access is unacceptable. The Board will be open, ethical, responsive, and committed to public service. The Board will approach its work with a sense of purpose and responsibility to the people of Texas and is committed to the best use of public monies. The Coordinating Board will engage in actions that add value to Texas and to higher education."

Some of the recommended changes for the 83rd legislative session include basing a portion of a school's funding on student performance, and expanding the GI bill by continuing the Hazlewood Act and the Hazlewood Legacy, which grants children of veterans tuition waivers.

The problem is the state provides no funding for the GI bill and some other programs, so the schools incur the cost, which means tuition goes up across the board.

District 86 State Representative John Smithee offered his input on the issue, saying,

"I think that if you're going to do something that has merit, like the veterans program, you need to provide the funding for it, and not tax it on to the other students, who are already struggling just to pay for their education.  One of the problems is that right now in our tuition structure in Texas at some universities, up to thirty percent of the tuition that people pay is not going to cover the cost of their education; it's going to cover the cost of someone else's education."

Another recommendation is to base ten percent of school funding on student performance, a move many educators actually endorse, as Amarillo College President Paul Matney says,

"It used to be that simply enrollment would drive the funding mechanism, but now we believe that ten percent of it should be driven by performance."

Representative Smithee says raising the standards for public education is vital to improving Texas schools, saying,

"Anything that we can do to provide incentive for these universities - internally, because that's the best place to deal with it - to make their operation number one, much more efficient, and number two, much more effective at educating students."

To read the THECB's recommendations, more on the Hazlewood Act, or an article in the Texas Tribune about the Hazlewood Act, follow the links attached to this story.