PACT tuition cap should be removed

Published 9:26 pm Friday, April 8, 2011

State Sen. Bryan Taylor’s efforts to remove caps on the PACT program are a good thing for Troy.

Taylor introduced a bill this week in the Alabama Legislature that would remove caps on the amount of tuition some schools can charge to students who pay for college through the Prepaid Affordable College Tuition plan. The caps were put in place when the plan was headed for bankruptcy, in an effort to preserve the program.

But, the caps aren’t fair. The limit the amount of tuition that can be charged to students at some state schools – such as Troy University – but do not place the same limitations on Alabama and Auburn.

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That means schools such as Troy are forced to pass on proportionally higher tuition increases to non-PACT students in an effort to maintain the balance in tuition revenues. And that’s just unfair to the students.

By removing that cap, Troy officials say they would be able to more fairly distribute the tuition increases among all students – likely lowering the percentage for increase necessary each year.

Whether Taylor’s bill will get the needed traction to pass remains to be seen.

But it brings to the fore an important point for discussion and one the Legislature should address. In this times of prorated education budgets and limited state revenues, it’s critical that colleges and universities have a fair playing field.