Search the Site

Look Who's Paying for Low Tuition

Texas raises most of its tax revenue from the sales tax. We are one of only seven states without a personal income tax. Even with the exclusion of groceries from the sales tax, it is likely that the tax is regressive.
Our legislators (who fortunately only convene for four months every two years) are now proposing that state-supported universities be limited to tuition increases not exceeding five percent per year. The bill’s author believes that this will force the legislature to increase appropriations for higher education, raising the state up from its near-bottom position in public support offered for colleges and universities.
Even if this belief were correct, would the substitution of tax revenue for tuition revenue be desirable? I don’t think so! Tuition is paid by students and their parents, and the average college student at a public university in this and other states comes from a family whose income is well above the median. The proposal would thus substitute regressive taxes for somewhat progressive tuition payments.
I thought the days of taxing the poor to support the rich went out with the Bush administration, but they appear to be surviving well here in Texas!