System representatives decide not to pursue declaratory judgment - News

System representatives decide not to pursue declaratory judgment

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Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 5:52 pm | Updated: 11:39 pm, Wed Apr 24, 2013.

Louisiana higher education system representatives decided not to investigate whether tuition increases are legally subject to legislative control, said Board of Regents General Counsel Uma Subramanian on Wednesday at the Board of Regents meeting.

Prior to 1995, the management boards of higher education institutions had tuition control. The 1995 constitutional amendment stated any new fee or an increase to an existing fee is subject to two-thirds vote by the legislature. Soon after, the attorney general said tuition is a fee “within the meaning of the Constitution,” Subramanian said last month.

When Subramanian spoke to system representatives about whether they would like to challenge the validity of the attorney general’s opinion, she said they were not interested.

“There is not much interest at this time in filing a declaratory judgment action. They are willing to looking into the issue after the session,” Subramanian said.

But Board of Regents member William Fernstermaker said it was still an important issue to keep track of.

“It’s probably something we should continue to at least ask the legal advisers for the systems to chime in and look at the history and background of that particular attorney general opinion … I would hope that we would continue to at least ask the question,” he said.

Subramanian said they will continue to look into the issue.

“A lot of research went into this. We are seriously looking at it. We agree that it is something worthy of further considerations,” she said.

Board of Regents member Robert Levy said he hopes the action is not necessary.

“[The hope is] that this legislation will do something courageous as far as giving tuition authority to management boards as we’ve asked them to do for years,” he said.

The Board of Regents has a proposed bill sponsored by Representative Walt Leger, D-Orleans, that would return tuition control to management boards and allow them to set per-credit hour and differential tuition.

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