YCT Praises Governor Perry’s Challenge to Universities

Press Releases / February 9, 2011

For Immediate Release
February 8, 2011
Contact Josh Perry, Executive Director
(512) 809-­‐7889, [email protected]

Austin, TX – Governor Rick Perry, in his State of the State Address today, challenged Texas universities to provide bachelor’s degrees at a cost of $10,000, including textbooks. Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) are praising the challenge and suggesting several measures that would help Texas universities attain the Governor’s goal.

“Governor Perry’s challenge to provide a $10,000 bachelor’s degree evokes memories of JFK’s moonshot,” said Tony McDonald, YCT Senior Vice Chairman. “This is a challenge that citizens, college administrators, and legislators should embrace and rally around as we get serious about getting Texas universities back to their core mission of undergraduate education.”

The group suggests that transparency and accountability are the answers for how to reduce costs to $10,000 per degree. On the transparency front, YCT calls for the state to end the sunset exemption for Texas universities, for the legislature to empower the Comptroller to audit public universities, and for all public universities to be required to place their check registers online.

“It’s always been said; Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” said Josh Perry, Executive Director of YCT. “Citizens and legislators need to know exactly how the universities are spending money so that they know how the institutions need to be reformed.”

With regards to accountability, YCT calls for the repeal of Tuition Deregulation, a policy passed in 2003 which allows university boards of regents to set tuition rates. Young Conservatives of Texas has called the policy, “devastating,” and suggested that it is directly to blame for rapidly rising tuition over the last decade.

“If the Governor and the Legislature want a bachelor’s degree to cost $10,000, they can do that by bringing tuition back under control of the legislature again,” said Perry. “It only requires one piece of legislation to make college affordable and to make universities live within their means again.”

Critics of the Governor’s proposal have pointed to declining appropriations from the legislature since the 1970s as the culprit, citing that nearly 3/4s of the cost of Higher Education was covered by state appropriations in the 1970s while the state only covers 16% today.

“The higher education establishment won’t tell you that their appropriations, in real dollars, have increased from each biennium to the next,” said McDonald. “The problem is that spending by universities has exploded over the past decade or two; they’re simply not living within their means.”

Young Conservatives of Texas is the largest grassroots political youth organization in the Lone Star State and has been promoting conservatism for over three decades. YCT has chapters at universities across Texas and alumni involved in all levels of politics. Young Conservatives of Texas produces the state’s most respected legislative ratings and have done so without interruption since 1975. To learn more about YCT, their chapters, their ratings, or for information on joining visit www.yct.org.

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