"The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower is servant to the lender."
The unintended consequences of tuition deregulation continue to shortchange Texas students. By providing public universities the flexibility to set their own rates, the Texas Legislature has essentially given them a perverse incentive to increase tuition and fees as the simplest means of expanding their own operating budgets.Read the whole thing here.
In fall 2003, a resident undergraduate attending class full-time paid $1,934 per semester in tuition and fees. A decade later, the same student owed an average of $3,951 per semester.
Since 2003, tuition and fees at Texas public universities have more than doubled, and designated tuition (the portion of tuition set directly by the universities) has increased an astounding 222 percent. Are we really expected to believe that the value of an undergraduate degree is worth twice what it was only a decade ago?
As students struggle to repay the exorbitant cost of higher education, they have less money to purchase a home, start a small business or otherwise contribute to the Texas economy. A survey conducted earlier this year by the consulting firm Accenture found that 46 percent of recent U.S. college graduates consider themselves underemployed, working jobs that do not require a college education.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the survey also revealed a significant disparity between what students had expected to earn and their actual starting salary: while only 18 percent of graduating students believed they would earn less than $25,000 a year, over 40 percent of recent graduates indicated they made that amount or less.
This broken system is leaving an entire generation of students mired in debt and frustrated by a lack of opportunity while supplying universities with extravagant budgets to fund special projects and ever-expanding administrations.
The Texas Legislature must reassess how we manage our public universities and consider whether the deregulation policies enacted over a decade ago still make sense for our students. Texas simply cannot maintain a strong economy without also maintaining a strong workforce, and we cannot maintain a strong workforce without affordable access to higher education.