UPDATE: I spoke with a friend and high-ranking official at Texas A&M who reminded me that the Aggies have the lowest tuition of any school in the prestigious Association of American Universities.
The news from Texas A&M that the board of regents is contemplating an increase in tuition and fees at the College Station campus raises questions about the future of higher education in Texas. The rising cost of tuition, particularly at the state’s flagship institutions, threatens to put higher education beyond the ability of some families to pay. Readers may recall that the UT regents, at Governor Perry’s urging, recently blocked a tuition increase at UT that had been agreed upon by President Bill Powers and students.
It will be interesting to see whether the A&M regents will raise tuition (and whether Perry might step in to prevent it, as he did at UT). It goes without saying that universities are expensive to operate, but it is equally true that tuition cannot keep increasing without harming Texas families that pay the freight. The reality is that higher education budgets have not been keeping pace with the rest of state government, and governing boards are finding themselves under pressure to provide funding for faculty salaries and other important investments.