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05/18/2015 We still oppose HB 671 in the second chamber. The Senate sponsor is Senator Nichols.
HB 671 would amend the Education Code to authorize an intercollegiate athletics fee at Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) limited to $10 per semester credit hour for each semester or summer session. The fee would be able to be increased by a majority vote of students in a general election at the school.
This bill abridges the principle of limited government by authorizing an additional fee at a state university. For this reason, we oppose HB 671.
The cost of higher education is already too high and the growing student debt problem is only worsening. In 2013 the average student debt for SFA graduates was $26,531.
For freshman students entering SFA next semester who take 12 credit hours per semester for 8 semesters and finance the cost of fees and tuition, this fee would add $960 to the principal balance of their student loans. Adding the cost of interest over the lifetime of the loan (assuming a 20 year loan at the current interest rate of 4.66% for federal student loans) they would pay an additional $518 in interest. In total, this fee would cost such a student an extra $1478. Of course, the more credit hours a student takes the more the total of principal and interest increases.
The state should be looking for ways to cut the cost of higher education, not adding to it with yet another fee that increases the debt burden for college students.
This insightful chart from the source linked above offers further details about the student debt picture for graduates of Stephen F. Austin State University.
The second chamber sponsor of this legislation is Senator Nichols.