Louisiana House OKs constitutional amendment on college tuition

The state house approved a bill on Monday that its sponsor said will make it more difficult in the future to cut higher education funding.

House Bill 222 is intended to prohibit replacing state funds with tuition and fee increases at public colleges and universities. The measure, which passed the state house 72-19 with 13 not voting, is a constitutional amendment that would go before voters, if it is also approved by the state Senate.

It means that if an institution has an increase in revenue from tuition in fees in a given year, that those additional funds cannot displace or replace the amount of state funding for higher education from the state general fund and other dedicated funds.

State Rep. Walt Leger III, D-New Orleans, said ultimately it would mean students would always get more for their money.

“The point of the bill is to provide that when there is an increase in what we’re trying to get students to contribute that they actually get something in return for that investment,” Leger said.

The restrictions wouldn’t go into place until 2016. He added an amendment on the House floor that made an exception for the state funding cuts with a two-thirds vote of the legislature.