A state senate bill to allow Louisiana universities to have final say on the price of tuition – failed at the state capitol. Senate Bill 155 fell short of the two-third majority needed to pass.
Its failure means that Louisiana state universities will continue to be forced to seek legislative approval to raise tuition. University of Louisiana at Lafayette Political Science Associate Professor, Dr. Pearson Cross doesn’t expect the bill to be revived. The legislative session is days away from being over. Plus, there’s the billion dollar deficit to deal with. “Still no overall budget and we don’t know if the governor is going to veto the budget they present to him,” says Dr. Cross.
The bill was authored by Senator Jack Donahue of Mandeville. “Different institutions want to be able to set their fees at different levels to respond to market rates,” adds Cross.
The state has paid for thousands of high school students to attend college under the merit based program “TOPS.” It’s believed that if the state is paying for educational degrees, then retaining the upper hand on price helps the state financially. “Bobby Jindal has made it clear that he doesn’t want to make changes to TOPS. He does not want to cap it. He doesn’t want to limit it. That means the legislature and universities are on the hook for paying the tuition,” notes Cross.
Plus, Dr. Cross says every time a state university raises tuition that increase is costing the state more money through TOPS. He explains that until the two are detangle a little, the bill won’t get much traction at least under the current governor.
KLFY Renee Allen