FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 01/15/2019
Representative Mary González Files Bill to Increase State Responsibility for Affordable Higher Education
AUSTIN - The average yearly tuition and fees for a four-year university in Texas is $8,091. This plus the cost of living and other incidentals adds up. In fact, students graduating in Texas with a Bachelor's degree leave with an average debt of $30,516, which is over 70% of their first-year wages. This issue hits students of color even harder, with African American student debt comprising over 100% of their first-year wages.
To increase access to affordable education, Representative Mary González has filed House Bill 132, which creates transparency and accountability by capping tuition at current levels unless the legislature authorizes an increase. "The legislature has a responsibility to ensure that students can focus on their academics and navigating their futures without a vast financial burden,” Rep. González said.
In 2003, the Texas Legislature de-regulated tuition, which makes universities and colleges responsible for setting tuition rates. Since 2003, tuition and fees have more than doubled, severely outpacing inflation by thousands of dollars. The ballooning price of higher education opens the door to increased student loan debt and financial instability for students.
“We have some of the best colleges and universities in the country in Texas,” Rep. González said. “Students should be able to choose which university or college they want to attend, without putting themselves in severe debt. This bill will return responsibility to the legislature to increase access to higher education and safeguard our students' futures.”