Louisiana voters could decide this fall if universities should have the authority to set their own tuition as a result of a proposed constitutional amendment that is close to receiving final legislative passage. Currently, the legislature must approve a tuition hike if it goes above a certain percentage.

Higher Education Commissioner Joseph Rallo says the proposed change to the constitution gives schools the power to lower and increase tuition.

“They’re going to be able to see who their competitors are begin to look at what they need to do to get the type of student they want.”

Rallo says Louisiana is the only state that doesn’t allow its institutions to set their own tuition and that puts state colleges at a competitive disadvantage with schools in other states.

“This allows them to both lower and increase tuition depending on the market so people shouldn’t be thinking it’s just going to go up, you’re not going to place yourself outside the marketplace.”

Rallo says this bill now heads to the Senate for approval of minor changes. He says letting universities set their own tuition is in the best interest of the students.

“There is no reason why we shouldn’t be able to give to our institutions the ability to be much more sensitive to their market needs, both in terms of raising and lowering the amount of tuition.”