Taylor seeks to remove PACT cap

Published 9:25 pm Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sen. Bryan Taylor, R-Prattville, is doing what he can to repeal the tuition cap on the Prepaid Affordable College Tuition (PACT) plan.

Taylor, who represents Pike County, introduced a bill Wednesday that he said would mean fair and equitable treatment for all universities throughout the state., including removing caps placed on Troy University.

“When the PACT program was ‘fixed,’ they capped the amount of tuition that every university could charge PACT program enrollees, except for the University of Alabama and Auburn University,” Taylor said. “We believe that’s patently unfair to other universities.”

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Taylor said Auburn and Alabama are allowed to increase the tuition for everybody including PACT enrollees as much as they want to, but for Troy University, and other universities around the state, tuition rates cannot be raised for PACT enrollees.

“The problem with that is that universities have got to be able to balance their budgets and pay the bills,” Taylor said. “It puts pressure on Troy University and these other universities to raise tuition rates for students who aren’t in the PACT program.”

He said the cap means Troy University is unable to modestly increase all students’ tuition, instead making up the difference in shortfalls by unfairly increasing tuition for students who are not enrolled in the PACT program.

“The PACT program was fixed on the backs of Troy University and other universities besides Alabama and Auburn,” Taylor said.

The state-funded program started to dwindle when the economy had taken a turn for the worse.

“What they decided to do last year to ‘fix it,’ was to subsidize the program with education trust fund dollars – taxpayer dollars,” Taylor said.

“But, they also wanted to limit tuition increases.”

Because the state pays tuition for PACT plan enrollees, limiting tuition increases in conjunction with subsidizing the program with tax payer dollars was seen as more preferable by the state.

According to Taylor, Auburn University and the University of Alabama were constitutionally created, which means the Legislature could not force Alabama or Auburn to cap their tuition.

“Troy University and other universities that didn’t have that benefit were subject to the bill and we simply think that every university should be treated fairly and equitably,” Taylor said. “This bill will treat Troy University and all the other universities just like Alabama and Auburn.”