Possibly the most important Legislative issue this session for TACT and Texas faculty is the two-year budget being debated as we speak. The Lt. Governor and House Speaker have named their budget conferees, who will seek compromise between the adopted budgets of each chamber.
For several years, the TACT Legislative Agenda has included an item to reduce the unfunded mandate of the Hazlewood Act – free tuition for Texas veterans. Since 2009, a Legacy component allows those benefits to be passed to the vets children, and the cost to universities is growing every year.
TACT’s position is for the Legislature to either fund the program or make changes to lessen the costs to universities.
“TEXAS LAWMAKERS MIGHT let community colleges offer bachelors’ degrees,” Texas Tribune’s Matthew Watkins -- “College administrators across the state are hoping to convince Texas lawmakers to authorize them to begin offering four-year degrees in a limited number of fields. It's a goal they have been working toward for years, and this year chances are stronger than ever that they'll succeed because powerful members of the House and Senate appear to support the idea.
The Texas Tribune's Matthew Watkins -- "Higher education leaders entered the 2017 session of the Texas Legislature expecting some dark days. Two-and-a-half months in, they're now focused on warding off a perfect storm.
Since 2003 when the Texas Legislature gave public universities the right to set their own tuition, there have been attempts to change it. Efforts thus far have failed, even as tuition fees have risen as much as 148 percent in the last 15 years. However, this year in the Senate there is a growing momentum supporting change.
Multiple bills have been filed to slow the pace of tuition, freeze it or lower college costs. Bills the Senate Higher Ed Committee is considering today are: