Wednesday, January 11, 2017

How should Texas restrict higher education Tuition?!?


"Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord."
Colossians 3:20

This afternoon at TPPF's policy orientation, we attended a panel on university tuition.  The full title was Tuition Set-Asides for Low Income Students: Who should Foot the Bill, but the discussion dealt with tuition in a much broader sense.  For more about tuition "set asides," see more from Lt. Governor Patrick's press conference on the topic last April.

Senator Kel Seliger, (likely chairman of the Higher Ed. Committee):
  • Set-asides just "part of the discussion" re: tuition.
  • Set asides "sort of an accounting device."
  • "Does little or nothing."
John Colyandro, Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute:
  • 85k students currently recieve assistance from set asides.
  • Government subsidies drive tuition increases.
  • It makes no sense to increase one student's tuition to benefit another.
Rich Vedder, Center for College Affordability and Productivity:
  • Price signals matter.
  • Government attempts to manipulate prices beget unintended consequences.
  • Regulation and subsidies distort prices.
  • This guy is AWESOME!!!
  • Set-asides "absolutely a bizarre policy."
  • Mandate that half of UT's endowment should go for tuition reduction.
  • UT and A&M have bigger endowments than public universities in other states but are middle of the pack, at best, in national academic ranking.
    • Author's Note: AND Football.
  • Federal tax preferences on endowments benefit wealthy schools.
Ron Trowbridge, Lone Star College System:
  • Government = coerced charity.
  • We need to do "some" redistribution.
  • Told two anecdotes.
  • Current subsidies tend to benefit affluent students.
Q&A:
  • We shouldn't use loans to fund scholarships.
    • Author's Note: We hadn't thought about it in those terms before, but that is a DAMN good point.
  • Senate WILL address set-asides.
  • UT "can play dirty at times."
    • Vedder teased, but didn't share, some sleaze from Bill Powers of which he was on the receiving end.
  • UT Austin has more bureaucrats than professors.
  • Seliger spoke surprisingly favorably about Vedder's tuition idea.

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