Texas Senate Bill 1531 orders increased transparency to help educate students on tuition cost

Texas Senate Bill 1531 was proposed to increase education students on these costs and what they can do to combat them, according to the Texas legislator who authored the bill.

The bill requires “general academic teaching institutions to provide first-time entering undergraduate students, including transfer students, a statement that compares the average total academic costs of graduating in four, five and six years,” according to Texas Sen. Kel Seliger’s (R-District 31) higher education bill analysis.

Senior mass communication major Stephanie Bray said knowing costs earlier can stave off potential financial pitfalls later in educational careers.

“Money is a big reason why people don’t get to go to college,” Bray said. “I had to take a year off between my freshman and sophomore year because I underestimated the costs. It’s definitely useful information that students need to know. It makes you think about not changing your major, wasting time as an undecided, and more.”

The average tuition cost per academic year for students at Texas universities is $7,625 for 15 hours. The bill also requires schools to supply an estimate of the average pay lost by recent graduates due to late graduation.

In addition, SB-1531 requires schools to include informational tools detailing steps that students can take to graduate on time, as well as offices they can contact for assistance.

“As the youngest of three and the first to go to university right after high school almost completely blind, I think it’s a pretty decent idea so new students can get an idea of what they are dealing with,” freshman forensic chemistry major James Ross said.

Some upperclassmen say they go their entire academic career and not find out crucial information until too late.

“If students exceed 120 hours, they will be charged out-of-state tuition, which students usually don’t know,” junior English major Regan Joswiak said. “If they can have access to the costs of graduating in four, five, or six years, they will be able to see just how expensive it will become.”

If passed the bill will take effect on Sept. 1.

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