by Matthew Albright
Bill aims to bring cost in line with southern average
Kristen Braud and Shawn Champagne, nursing seniors at Nicholls State University, study Monday on campus.
A bill in the Legislature would allow the state’s colleges and universities to increase tuition to the southern regional average, potentially costing Nicholls State University and Fletcher Technical Community College students some serious cash over the long haul.
House Bill 275, by Rep. John Schroder, R-Covington, is the latest effort by lawmakers to raise tuition to make up for cutbacks caused by a budget crunch. The bill is currently assigned to the House Education committee.
In 2010-11, the average annual tuition and fees in Louisiana was $4,435, according to the latest data from the Southern Regional Education Board, which tracks numerous education statistics. The southern regional average was $6,203; the national average was $6,537.
Local tuition is even lower. During that same period, tuition and fees at Nicholls cost $4,290 a year. That’s lower than the state average.
Since Shroeder’s bill wouldn’t take effect until next year, data isn’t available for how much the increase will cost students. But had the bill taken effect in 2010, a Nicholls student would have seen tuition jump from $4,290 to $6,203 —a 31 percent increase.
Local administrators say it’s unlikely that increase would happen all at once, especially since the bill would leave tuition authority to individual system boards.
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