A measure that would have given Louisiana’s college systems the ability to charge full-time students up to $300 in new fees each semester effectively died in the House Education Committee Tuesday.
The proposed “stabilization” fee of up to $25 per credit hour in House Bill 1078 was intended to partially offset more than $100 million in state funding cuts higher education has absorbed since the beginning of last year, state Commissioner of Higher Education Jim Purcell said. The fees would be separate from tuition.
The fees could generate up to $107 million across Louisiana’s four public college systems, Purcell said. Individual institutions would have the discretion to impose all or only a portion of the fee.
Louisiana’s public universities are currently bracing for another $225 million reduction in state funding as outlined in House Bill 1, the state spending plan approved by the House on Friday.
But after lengthy debate from representatives questioning the fairness of putting an increased burden on students in the face of budget cuts, the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Chris Broadwater, R-Hammond, declined to put the bill up for a vote.
“I’ve got a lot to learn,” Broadwater said. “But one thing I’ve learned is how to read a committee. I ask that this bill be voluntarily deferred.”