BEAUMONT, Texas — Tuition is going to be lower at Lamar Institute of Technology and Lamar State College in Orange and Port Arthur this fall.
The Texas State University System officials announced the TSUS Board of Regents voted unanimously to reduce tuition and fees about 25 percent in a news conference the Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum July 17. The new rates are expected to take effect this fall.
This decrease effectively rolls back the price of tuition back to what students paid a decade ago in 2009, according to TSUS.
Dual credit courses are reduced from $75-110 per credit hour down to $50 per credit hour at all three colleges, officials said.
Texas State Representative Dade Phelan, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, and TSUS Chancellor Brian McCall all worked together to reduce the fee.
"Students will graduate faster, they'll be able to take more course loads on, and they'll wrap up their college careers with less debt," Phelan said.
Lamar State College Port Arthur President, Dr. Betty Reynard, said it will benefit students across the board. The students, she said, will be able to take on more classes, if they choose, and graduate and get into the workforce sooner.
"We are hopeful that it will allow students to realize their dream of going to college," Reynard said.
Something that wouldn't be possible without the leadership at TSUS, who Reynard explained, got the ball rolling. She's grateful for the role Representative Phelan and Speaker Bonnen played, and feels her students and their parents will be too.
Dr. Thomas Johnson, President of Lamar state College Orange, said the reduction will help them reach more students, and put them in a position where they can teach trades that will help students go straight to work.
This, he said, will lead to regional prosperity; a better trained workforce, making a livable wage, able to buy more goods, and stay in southeast Texas.
"This is a game changer, what this does, it helps southeast Texas realize it's full potential," he said.
Lamar Institute of Technology President, Lonnie Howard, agrees, this is huge for our area. He said up to this point, students were paying about $12,000 for a two year degree. Now, their price point will be $9,000.
The three presidents are excited for the doors that the tuition reduction can open for their students, both current and future.
Tony Rutledge, President of the Student Government Association at Lamar Institute of Technology, said it's going to change things on campus. He's going into his last year to complete his triple major in computer networking, business, and cyber security.
"With eight more classes to take having that tuition cut is definitely going to help me," he said.
Rutledge said it will help other students as well, especially ones who didn't think they were able to afford classes before.
Press release from the Texas State University System...
Students at Lamar Institute of Technology, Lamar State College Orange, and Lamar State College Port Arthur will pay substantially lower tuition and fees starting this fall. Officials from the Texas State University System announced the tuition cut today during a news conference at the Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum in Beaumont.
Last week, the TSUS Board of Regents voted unanimously to reduce tuition and fees at the Lamar State Colleges by an average of 25 percent. Starting this fall, full-time students will pay standard tuition and fees of $1,995 at all three colleges – roughly the same price as in 2009. The board also reduced the fee for dual credit courses from $75-$110 per semester credit hour to $50 per semester credit hour at all three colleges.
“The Lamar State Colleges are consistently ranked among the best colleges in the nation for graduate earnings and job placement rates,” said Board of Regents Chairman William F. Scott. “This tuition cut will make these state colleges even more attractive to students who would like to advance their careers and increase their earnings. Our hope is that students who have been on the fence about continuing their education will strongly consider enrolling this fall.”
Although their mission is similar to the state’s community colleges, the Lamar State Colleges receive no local tax revenue, resulting in an overdependence on tuition and fees. Last year, tuition and fees at the Lamar State Colleges were about $1,800 higher, on average, than Texas community colleges. Now, the cost difference is roughly half that amount
The recently approved state budget provides an additional $17.3 million to narrow the funding gap between the Lamar State Colleges and community colleges. The Board of Regents dedicated 95 percent of this new money, $16.5 million, to reduce tuition and fees. The state colleges will use the remaining five percent to enhance student support services.
“The Texas Legislature and Governor Abbott deserve enormous praise for creating a more level playing field for college students in Southeast Texas,” said TSUS Chancellor Brian McCall. “Cost should not be a barrier to a college degree if we have the means to address it. This additional funding shows a strong commitment by our state leaders to the students of Southeast Texas.”
State Representative Dade Phelan, who led the effort to increase funding for the two-year colleges, said, “The Lamar State Colleges have a long and successful history of preparing Southeast Texas residents for jobs in our local economy. This tuition cut will save the average student hundreds of dollars each semester, making it easier to earn a two-year degree and improve their quality of life. I applaud the Texas State University System Regents and Chancellor Brian McCall for their leadership and dedication to this area of the state.”
Lamar Institute of Technology, Lamar State College Orange, and Lamar State College Port Arthur are the only public, two-year colleges serving the Golden Triangle area of Southeast Texas.
About the Texas State University System
The Texas State University System is the state’s oldest and third-largest university system, with seven institutions spanning from the Big Bend Region of West Texas to the Texas-Louisiana Border. System-wide enrollment exceeded 84,000 last fall.