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House speaker to join tuition news event

Texas Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen was a scheduled guest for Wednesday’s news conference on higher education access and affordability at Spindletop student access to higher education.

The event is scheduled for 11 a.m. at Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum, 5550 Jimmy Simmons Blvd., Beaumont.

Bonnen, R-Angleton, will be joined by State Rep. Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont; William Scott of Nederland, chairman of the Texas State University System Board of Regents; Brian McCall, system chancellor; and presidents Betty Reynard, Lamar State College Port Arthur, Thomas Johnson, Lamar State College Orange and Lonnie Howard, president of Lamar Institute of Technology.

The Regents last Friday OK’d what is about a 25 percent decrease in tuition and fees at Lamar Port Arthur, Lamar Orange and LIT, a boost for area students at those two-year campuses who’ve typically paid more for their education than students at state-supported community colleges.

While the three local campuses depend upon state support and tuition and fees, the community colleges can raise fees locally through property taxes, as well. Through the appropriations process during the recently concluded legislative session, the three campuses were $17.3 million, funding the campuses will use to offset their higher tuition.

The Regents approved the tuition and fees changes in a meeting held over the phone. As approved, students will save $890.82 per semester at Lamar Port Arthur, $690 per semester at Lamar Orange and $698.50 at LIT, after fees at the individual colleges are included.