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Roach elated by AG opinion on tuition authority

Sen. Pam Roach - Reporter file photo
Sen. Pam Roach
— image credit: Reporter file photo

The Attorney General's office responded Wednesday to a request by State Sen. Pam Roach (R-rural Auburn) regarding tuition-setting authority and the voters' passage of Initiative 1185.

"I am delighted that the Attorney General agrees with the voters. The Legislature is the sole authority in setting tuition rates," Roach said. "We have watched tuition triple in the last few years while students and families are left contemplating their futures. Now families will have the power to make demands of elected officials and not be subjected to the behind closed doors process of unelected college boards of trustees."

Roach noted that she did not think the college presidents did themselves a favor earlier this week by demanding the Legislature allocate $225 million for higher education or they would raise tuition.

"Clearly, they no longer have that authority," Roach said. "Besides, most of us learned you get more with honey than vinegar. Threatening the public only shows the mentality of unelected officials who, themselves, are making hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece."

"Voters were right that unlimited authority to radically increase tuition should not have been given to the universities themselves," Roach said.

On Monday, Roach asked the Attorney General to answer two questions: The authority given to college boards "was rescinded by the passage of I-1185 ... ?" (I-1185 passed by almost two-thirds of the vote last fall.) And, did this not clearly reestablish that "the elected Legislature must make decisions on tuition, not unelected officials at state universities?"

"The Attorney General confirms that the voters did, in fact, return tuition setting authority to the Legislature. The Legislature is responsible for setting all setting fees, including tuition. I am pleased that university presidents no longer have the power to jack up tuition. The Legislature never should have divested itself of the responsibility in the first place. I trust that the legislature will not make that mistake again."

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