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I noted with interest the article in Jan. 19 in which the chancellor of the university system predicted a tuition rate hike for college students this fall.
That is exactly what does not need to happen. Tuition rates are the cash cow for a bloated university system that is top-heavy with administrators. Every time the system is urged to tighten its belt, it makes a token effort and then raises tuition to compensate for the loss of state funds.
The veiled threat is that, "we'll just have to cut some teachers if we don't do a rate increase" as if that is the only area where changes can be made. Some big cities and counties play the same game when they threaten to cut police and fire protection rather than the mayor's car and driver.
This kind of behavior by the university system is exactly why the HOPE funds are in jeopardy. The sequence goes like this: 1. The state reduces or freezes funding; 2. tuition rates (or other fees) are increased to compensate; and 3. lottery funds pay for much of the rate increase. Is it any wonder the HOPE funds are in trouble when the university system can drain it at will?
Look at the relative rate and fee increases since the lottery funds became available. I'm betting the "rate" of increase of tuition and fees has gone up since HOPE scholarships were instituted. The university system has used this form of back-door funding for years, and it is killing the program.
The legislature should act to not only freeze tuition rates, but to reduce tuition paid by HOPE funds by 15 percent. This alone would go a long way to preserve the scholarship program funds.