Utah lawmakers approved legislation Tuesday to allow the state’s public colleges and universities to impose a $1,000 cap on student tuition, a major change to the way the state spends public dollars.
The Senate passed the measure, which passed the House on Wednesday, by a 55-43 vote, with two Republicans voting against it.
It now goes to Gov.
Gary Herbert for his signature.
“This bill represents a fundamental change in Utahns educational future,” Herbert said in a statement.
“Utahns children deserve better.
The new legislation will ensure that our students have the opportunities they deserve, regardless of the price tag.
It will also ensure Utahns future economic prosperity and create more opportunities for our young people.”
It was unclear how the legislation would affect Utahns schools.
Herbert said during his campaign last year that he favored limiting tuition.
“We should not be doing what the states have been doing,” he said at the time.
“We should be investing in Utah to be the best state in the union and create the opportunities for all students.”
The bill, signed into law by Herbert last month, would increase the number of Utahns college students from about 4,000 to about 11,000.
It would also allow Utahns students to transfer to public colleges or universities outside the state.
“It’s an important first step toward improving education in Utah,” Herbert told reporters Tuesday night after the Senate passed its bill.
“This is about keeping the best students, and ensuring that they can graduate with a high degree of success.
We’ll have more details to come.
We’re very optimistic that this bill will make Utah the best place to be a Utahns student.”
It’s not clear how the measure would affect students who attend schools outside the area that have higher tuition and fees.
The bill also would allow students to be placed in a private school or charter school if they are currently enrolled in an educational program that is part of the public school system.
It’s unclear how this change would affect those students, who would be eligible for federal funding to attend public schools if they choose to attend.
The House passed a similar bill earlier this month that would allow public colleges to use state dollars to fund tuition for students who are already enrolled in a state school system and do not qualify for a state scholarship or other financial assistance.
The governor has indicated he would sign the bill, but the measure faces opposition in the Senate.
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