Remember last November, when the state of Texas had the opportunity to choose its next Lieutenant Governor? At the time, both candidates made their views on the matter of in-state college tuition guidelines abundantly clear… Democrat Leticia Van de Putte supported in-state tuition for undocumented students, while Republican Dan Patrick was staunchly opposed. In 2011, then Senator Dan Patrick felt so strongly against the practice, that he co-authored a bill that would have abolished in-state tuition for everyone whether they are undocumented or not.
Well today in 2015, Dan Patrick is the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, and he gets to decide what bills move forward in the state Senate. Should we really be surprised that he has now scheduled SB 1819… a bill that aims to abolish in-state tuition exemptions? If passed, the legislation would take effect in September, and could potentially affect thousands of current college students and those planning to attend in the coming Fall semester.
Besides the havoc placed upon undocumented students, the bill would also eradicate in-state tuition waivers for American citizens from out-of-state, and force institutions to either drop their waivers entirely or try to cover the costs of anyone that previously qualified for a waiver. If you haven’t guessed by now, the likely result of SB 1819 would be an increase in tuition and fees for all students as schools try to cover students, or adjust to lower numbers from the impact.
Lots of folks are saying that this move is just for show. “Even if the Senate approves the bill, it’ll never pass the House” or “Greg Abbott would veto the bill immediately”. But if those things are the case, then why is the Senate even dealing with the measure? Why risk angering an entire generation of college students, and all those who care about them?
As far as this blog is concerned, it’s not okay to just sit back, watch the drama, and hope for the best. If you care about preserving Texas in-state tuition, this is a time for action. Dos Centavos has some great resources that you can use to call your state Senator and tell them not to support this ridiculous bill. Let’s show Austin that in the last two weeks of this legislative session, they should have far more to do than impede the lives of our next generation of leaders.