About the Bill
In 2003, the Texas Legislature transferred the authority to set tuition rates from the Legislature itself to the Boards of Regents of individual university systems. Since that time, tuition and fees across Texas public universities have more than doubled, and the portion of tuition set by universities has increased 222 percent, far exceeding the 27 percent rate of inflation over the same time period. As a result, higher education in Texas has never been more unaffordable for middle class families.
These rapid increases in cost are pricing more and more Texas students out of higher education and causing many to increasingly depend on student loans to pay for college. The average student borrower in Texas now owes over $24,000 dollars in student debt upon leaving college, and student loan debt now represents the nation's second largest source of all debt, surpassing credit card debt and second only to mortgages. The State of Texas has a vested interest in maintaining an educated workforce that can continue Texas' economic success by purchasing homes and creating new businesses -- something college graduates are unable to do when financially burdened with crushing student loan debt.
Senate Bill 233 will freeze tuition rates at public Texas universities and limit any future increases in tuition and fees to no more than the rate of inflation. By restoring reasonable accountability to higher education, we can help ensure that a college education remains affordable and attainable goal for all Texans.
Key Provisions of SB 233
- Caps tuition at its current level as of January 1, 2015 for one year.
- Limits any future increases in tuition and fees to no more than the rate of inflation based on the consumer price index.
- Allows fees to increase beyond the rate of inflation with a majority vote of the student body.
- Requires the Legislative Budget Board to certify the consumer price index not later than January 31st of each year.
- Read the bill here.
Meet Sen. Charles Schwertner
In 2012, Dr. Charles Schwertner was elected to the Texas Senate, District 5. He serves as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services and sits on the Senate Committees on Finance, Administration, State Affairs, and Business & Commerce. During his first term in the Texas Senate, Texas Monthly Magazine named him “Senate Freshman of the Year”. He comes from six generations of farming and ranching in Texas. In addition to his role in the Texas Legislature, Schwertner is a practicing orthopedic surgeon, treating thousands of patients in Senate District 5 each year. He and his wife, Belinda, reside in Georgetown with their three sons, Carson, Zachary, and Matthew. To view his website, click here.