Quotes to note: college and costs

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Editors’ Note: In the May 29 primary, both parties put non-binding propositions on their ballots, which don’t become law, but merely gauge support for an issue. Texas Democrats voted on and overwhelmingly supported a measure calling on the Texas Legislature “to fund colleges and universities such that tuition and fees can be affordable to all Texans.” The Daily Texan asked student leaders and state policymakers on both sides of the aisle if they supported such a measure, why, and how they intended to act upon those sentiments:


“For the past six years I’ve worked with the Legislature urging lawmakers to support higher education. State funding is an important component — along with affordable tuition and financial aid — that allows more Texans access to college while maintaining the quality of top national universities like UT Austin. I will continue this work during the upcoming legislative session. Texas leaders in all fields increasingly understand that having the country’s No. 1 public university at its heart would strengthen the whole state.”

--Bill Powers, President
The University of Texas at Austin

“When it comes to the referendum on higher education the overwhelming majority vote speaks for itself...These are values that should be crossing party lines...UDems are very mixed on the subject of tuition increases. Some of them support tuition increases because they feel like it’s a quality of education issue. Others are opposed to it because it ends up cutting out students at the bottom of the financial tier who just can’t afford to great tier one institutions like UT.”

--Huey Fisher, President
University Democrats

“A college education is important - no doubt about that. However there are different routes to obtaining a college degree. What is considered ‘affordable’ varies across the state. There are community colleges and UT/A&M system school that provide a great value for Texan students. With the CAP program and similar 2 x 2 plans, college CAN be affordable, if government and colleges could assist families plan ahead and empower then with information and tools to attend college. We need to stop denigrating non-flagship colleges across the state...A couple of schools have already successfully designed $10,000 degrees as asked by the governor. We want more college opportunities for more Texans, and all Texans. This requires a robust and flexible public policy and innovation - Status quo and throwing money at the problem will not help more Texans obtain a quality college education.”

--Danny Zeng, Communications Director
College Republicans

“Higher education is a public good and legislators need to realize that by funding higher education, they are making an investment for the state, and our nation, that has remarkable returns. Students should not have to sacrifice quality in their education or bear increased tuition costs because the state is unwilling to adequately fund higher education and view it as a priority.”

--Michael Morton, President
Senate of College Councils

“Funding from the Texas legislature that helps keep college tuition and fees affordable for Texans is important. A college education is a great segue into furthering a career and opening doors that may not otherwise be available.”

--Thor Lund, President
UT Student Government


Finding savings and creating more affordable options can be done, and it’s something university leadership owes to their students and Texas taxpayers to pursue. Gov. Perry agrees that our state’s economic success will be built on an educated workforce that can compete in the global market, and he is committed to improving the quality and efficiency of higher education.

--Steffany Duke, Spokeswoman
Office of the Governor of Texas

“There are many, many people who talk about appropriations, and there are others who talk about tuition, but there are very few people who actually combine the two in their discussion about the future of higher education. I believe very strongly that the level of appropriations from the legislature should be related to the level of tuition. If the legislature appropriates higher education adequately, or at an impressive level, tuition could be the same or lower, but because the appropriations have not been adequate, tuition has been raised. So I am delighted that the referendum combined the two…I wish university education were free. If I were governor of Texas, which I am not and never will be, my priority would be to extend the definition of public education as a right to include early childhood education and higher education....I remember being at UT and being worried to death about rumors that tuition was going to increase $25. I could not have afforded a $25 increase. I was married and one of us, my husband or I, would have had to drop out and it would have been me. We lived in dread of that rumor.”

--Judith Zaffirini, state Senator, D-Laredo
Chairwoman, Senate Committee on Higher Education
 


“At a time when Texas families and the state are tightening their belts and educational costs are facing more scrutiny, we expect our universities and colleges to redouble their efforts to find innovative ways to provide high-quality education at the best price.”

--Dan Branch,state Representative,R-Dallas
Chairman, House Committee on Higher Education