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At the same time the Texas Legislature “deregulated” tuition for public universities in 2003, they also implemented a 15% tax on college students that subsidizes state-issued scholarships and financial aid programs for other students.

Repealing this law and removing the tax on tuition has been a major goal of the Young Conservatives of Texas, which has referred to the practice as “classic socialism” and “blatant redistribution of wealth.” YCT and many conservatives argue that reducing the cost of tuition by 20% would help college become more affordable for all Texans.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick agrees and has referred to the onerous set-aside program as “nothing more than a hidden tax on every student and every family when 15% of what they pay goes to another student.”

A longtime opponent of the program since his time in the Texas Senate, Patrick is expected to push for reform on the issue in the upcoming session— recently marking the issue as a top Senate priority.

Reform advocates can expect pushback from Democrats who favor wealth redistribution and the Republicans that enable them. Particularly strong opposition can be expected from State Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D–Laredo), who has praised the program and the scholarship programs that it funds.

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