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Relating to authorizing a wellness and success center fee at the University of Houston-Downtown.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
HB 1277 would allow for the University of Houston Downtown campus to charge each student a wellness and success center fee. The fee must be approved by a majority vote of the students. The amount charged would not exceed: (1) $150 per student for each regular semester; (2) $75 per student for each summer session of eight weeks or longer; or (3) $50 per student for each term of the summer session of less than eight weeks. The board of regents would not be able to increase the fee to an amount that exceeds more than 10 percent of the fee charged in the preceding academic year, unless approved by a majority student vote.
Texas Action recommends opposing HB 1277 because it violates our principle of limited government. According to the Texas Higher Education Coordination Board, from the years 2000 to 2010, state funding for higher education declined by 15.9 percent, while tuition fees increased by 75 percent (almost five times as fast). In the 2015 session, the legislature increased funding by nearly $300 million (approximately 9 percent) and authorized over $3 billion for campus buildings. Yet within months, most public universities approved tuition increases.
Rising tuition fees are a symptom of administrative bloat, including high-salary administrators and costly facilities. For these reasons, we generally oppose increases in student fees that contribute to the already incredibly high cost of higher education.