Possible 2nd Amendment changes

When voting comes around, there will be more to vote for than the future leader of our country.

One of the other things to vote for is the approval or disapproval of six constitutional amendments. Among these amendments, is the Second Constitutional Amendment. In 1995, Congress passed a constitutional amendment that subjected all rate changes to government approval. 

This amendment deals with the issue of college tuition and who has the final say in adjustments to it.

“A ‘yes’ vote will allow the university management boards, in Southeastern’s case that would be the University of Louisiana System Board, to have the final say on tuition and fee price points,” said Erin Cowser, Executive Director of Public and Governmental Affairs. “It is not necessarily just to be able to raise tuition. A ‘yes’ vote, basically, will return the ability to set tuition to the system boards where it is no longer in the hands, or responsibility, of legislators. A ‘no’ vote would leave it as it is. Where every time a fee or tuition increase is requested, you have to receive a two-thirds vote of the legislature.”

Legislators have been trying to get this on the ballot for a long time.

“This is a big deal,” said Cowser. “This is something that if it doesn’t pass next week, I doubt that I will see it anytime soon, ever make its way back on the ballot. It’s something that higher education proponents have been trying to get on the ballot for almost 20 years now.”

 

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A common concern that arises in response to this proposal is that tuition rates will drastically increase.

“One of the things I’ve been hearing a lot in talking to people, is that there is this fear that without the legislative authority, that tuition is just gonna skyrocket even more,” said Cowser. “I guess the best way I’ve come up with to counter that when people share that fear with me is ‘Do students attend college in West Virginia? Do they attend college in Idaho? Do they attend college in Wisconsin?’ They have not priced themselves out of the market. You can’t. You’re providing a service. It’s something you pay money for. Therefore, the university presidents and the systems have to be conscious of that and they very much are. I think our President, Dr. Crain, is very sensitive to that.”

Cowser believes the current situation is not helpful.

“I think that there is a realization that for whatever well-intended purpose that it was taken away from the systems before, that it’s not of benefit to the residents of the state,” said Cowser. “Obviously, there are budget concerns and constraints, and that would be one thing less on their plate. They’ve got plenty of things to keep them busy at this point when it comes to funding for the entire state.”

Cowser also believes that people within the school systems are capable of deciding the tuition rates.

“I think there’s an awareness that we have exceptional leaders in higher education systems and at the campus level and that they know their business,” said Cowser. “A lot of the elected officials in Baton Rouge right now, the legislators, come to that position having a successful business background, and they realize that sometimes being a good leader means letting people who know best what they’re doing take care of that themselves.”

Currently, Louisiana is one of the only two states that require government approval for tuition adjustment. It is the only one that requires a two-thirds vote.

“I just know that this is something that higher education people have been saying for years,” said Cowser. “That the autonomy should be returned to the system level, and it took a lot of sharing information and building the trust relationships with the legislators so that they are comfortable with the fact that this is something that needs to happen.”

 

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