Tuition bill won’t be heard in committee

Shawntaye Hopkins

Tuition rates will remain a mystery from year to year.

A bill that would allow students to pay the same tuition rate for four years will not be heard by the House education committee in this legislative session.

State Rep. Ron Crimm, R-Middletown, said he heard Tuesday afternoon from chair of the committee that it would not be presented.

Some students have to pay for tuition themselves and can’t afford the growing rates, Crimm said.

“My whole idea was to try to help them out a little bit,” he said.

The committee was mainly concerned about having to give universities more state funding if the bills were passed, Crimm said. That was not something the committee was willing to consider with the expected revenue shortfall for this year and the next fiscal year, he said.

Crimm said he understands his bill not being heard because of the state’s revenue situation. But additional funding wouldn’t necessarily be needed if the bill were passed – only more planning by the university, he said.

Rep. Frank Rasche, D-Paducah and chair of the House education committee, said that without knowing the budget, universities would probably increase their tuition by 50 to 60 percent if the bill were passed.

“To play it safe they would probably jump it higher than what would be necessary,” he said.

He said universities would do that regardless of the state budget situation.

Western administrators were against the bill, said Robbin Taylor, director of government relations at Western.

“We’re going to oppose any effort to regulate our ability to set tution,” Taylor said.

Taylor said she is tracking about 200 other bills through the legislature.

But bills have only recently began to pass through committees, and the primary focus is currently the budget, Taylor said.

Still, other bills could potentially effect Western and other institutions.

Rep. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington, is sponsoring a bill to prohibit credit card companies from giving students free gifts for completing credit card applications.

House Speaker Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, is sponsoring a bill that would require students under 21 to get their parent’s permission before being given a credit card.

Reach Shawntaye Hopkins at [email protected]