A proposed measure working its way through the Texas Legislature would prevent tuition rates from rising while a student attends a state University.
House Bill 29 is a guaranteed fixed tuition program for undergraduate students over a four year period. It was drafted by State Representative Dan Branch.
Midwestern State University is watching as this bill moves through the State Legislature. Debbie Barrow, Director of Board and Government Relations at MSU, said if the bill is approved, students will know "right off the bat" what they'll need to get through college.
"They can plan. They can budget. They don't have to worry about drastic increases in their tuition and fees over time," Barrow said.
If passed, students would have the option to be enrolled in the program. "It does allow for an opt-out for students," Barrow said. "So that if they're not interested, they can continue to pay the rate that is charged every year with no guarantee of how much it will go up or down."
While fixed tuition it could be beneficial in the long term, it would likely require students to pay more in the short term. That's because universities would adjust the rate up front to accommodate for possible hikes in the future.
That's exactly what has happened for two campuses in the University of Texas System that offer a fixed tuition program. "They actually increased the fixed tuition rate so that they could guarantee if they were going to increase their tuition, say three percent for the next four years, they would find sort of an average," Barrow said.
MSU students have mixed feelings about the possibility of seeing fixed tuition in Wichita Falls.
"I'd really have to think about it," said one student. "It's a big decision, but it would probably help planning in the long run to have fixed tuition. And, it would probably be a whole lot easier for some students."
"Looking down the line, it's easier to just say I want to lock this rate in. Yes, it's a little bit more expensive, but over a longer period of time I think it would be more beneficial," said another student.
Another student told Newschannel 6 she felt fixed tuition would just be a trick.
House Bill 29 currently only offers fixed tuition for in-state students. The measure has passed in the House, and is now headed to the Senate for a vote.