GRAD Act Allows For Tuition Increase in Edu-Tech

Granting Resources and Autonomy for Diplomas Act, became law June 29 for Edu Tech. This law, now known as Act 741, gives Louisiana colleges and universities the right to raise tuition and mandatory fees without a two-thirds approval of the Legislature. It also grants them the ability to self-govern, to have more autonomy, in operational spending.

However, the GRAD Act includes conditions for these new freedoms. Louisiana colleges and universities must sign a six-year agreement to meet performance criteria set by the Louisiana Board of Regents in order to continue receiving this limited tuition and spending autonomy.

Joseph Thomas, vice president for financial affairs, said the details of GRAD Act monitoring policies and procedures are still being determined, but he said a tuition increase would probably take effect soon.

In order to retain this autonomy, the GRAD Act colleges and universities must meet targeted performance objectives in the areas of student success, articulation and transfer, workforce and economic development and institutional efficiency and accountability.

Emily LaFleur, Student Government Association president, said the new law is good for Tech.

“The GRAD Act is the most beneficial thing the Louisiana legislation has done for Tech as of late,” LaFleur said. “It is giving credit to schools that are doing great jobs, and Tech excels in the fact that we are meeting the performance standards set by the Board of Regents. We are already there, practically a model university, according to the performance criteria.”

“Any adjustments will likely begin in the fall,” Thomas said. “We are rolling this out for the first time. It has a lot of components.”

Colleges and universities that have committed to meeting GRAD Act performance criteria are allowed to raise tuition rates by 5 percent for the 2010-2011 academic year, by another 5 percent for 2011-2012 and by 10 percent for subsequent years until the average tuition rate for peer universities is reached.

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