The Record Newspapers - Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

By Dave Rogers
For the Record 

Legislature cuts Lamar College tuition again

 

Last updated 7/20/2021 at 8:40pm

Lamar State College Orange, Lamar Institute of Technology and Lamar State College Port Arthur, known collectively as the Lamar State Colleges, will further reduce tuition this fall thanks to an additional $17 million in funding in the recently approved state budget.

This new funding allows the three public, two-year institutions serving Southeast Texas to reduce tuition and mandatory fees to $1,770 per semester (based on 15 semester credit hours).

Combined with the first round of tuition cuts approved two years ago, total tuition and fees at the Lamar State Colleges have been reduced by an average of 47 percent, now on par with community colleges throughout the state.

The reduced tuition, approved by the Texas State University System Board of Regents last month, will remain in effect for at least three years.

“This is a seismic moment for higher education in Southeast Texas,” said TSUS Chancellor Brian McCall. “As chancellor of a university system that serves a large number of low-income, at-risk and first-generation students, I can’t overstate the significance of this investment in our students.”

Dr. Tom Johnson, president of Lamar State College Orange, echoed the chancellor’s thoughts.

“With this significant decrease in tuition, we will be able to reach more students and change the trajectory of their lives and their families’ lives,” he said.

He pointed out the Legislature also approved a funding request that would allow Lamar State College Orange to offer dual credit classes for a further reduced amount.

Dade Phelan, Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, led the effort to increase state funding for the Lamar State Colleges, which -- unlike Texas community colleges -- receive no local tax revenue. In the past, the state colleges made up the difference by charging higher tuition and fees.

Phelan and McCall joined Johnson, Lamar State College President Dr. Betty Reynard and Lonnie Howard, President of Lamar Institute of Technology in Austin Tuesday, for the announcement.

“The Lamar State Colleges have long been underfunded compared to their peer institutions in the state, creating an unnecessary cost barrier for students seeking a two-year degree,” Phelan said. “I’m pleased that we were able to close this gap and make college more affordable for students in Southeast Texas.”

In addition to reducing tuition and fees, the Lamar State Colleges are providing a $10 per credit hour instructional materials scholarship to help students reduce the cost of textbooks and other learning materials. Combined with the tuition cut, these benefits will allow many students to register for more classes, complete their degree and certificate programs faster, and enter the workforce ahead of schedule.

Thanks to the efforts of Speaker Dade Phelan and previous Speaker Dennis Bonnen, state funding for the Lamar State Colleges has increased by $47 million since 2019, resulting in a 17% increase in headcount enrollment, a 55% increase in dual credit enrollment, and a 124% increase in online credit hours.

 

“This extraordinary action by Governor Abbott, Speaker Phelan, Senator Nichols, and the Texas State University System Board of Regents will allow students in the Orange area to achieve an education at a much lower cost. We couldn’t be more appreciative to this group of outstanding leaders for their foresight to continue making a bright Orange – and less expensive – future for our students,” Johnson said.

Governor Abbott also signed legislation granting the funds for Lamar State College Orange to purchase an industrial-size generator to power portions of the campus in the unfortunately common event of a hurricane.

Students who wish to learn more about how this tuition reduction affects them can visit the Lamar State College Orange at lsco.edu.

 

To take advantage of this reduced tuition opportunity, and LSCO’s current Buy One Class, Get One FREE offer (up to two free classes for Fall), apply now at lsco.edu.

 

 

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