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The Brief: Analyzing higher education's rising costs

The cost of public higher-education is continually increasing, and the Texas Tribune wants to find out how it's affecting Texas families.

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Tribune Today

Analysis: Texas political changes in the wind — or the snow blower
The assembly of a Trump administration in Washington, D.C. could send a ripple through the political waters in Texas, particularly if the president-elect hires from within the state's congressional delegation.

Undocumented immigrants fear what Trump will do to "sanctuary cities"
It’s not yet clear whether, or how, the Trump administration could make good on a promise to end "sanctuary cities." But the simple fact that he says he’ll try is enough to terrify many undocumented immigrants in Texas.

Uber wants to return to Austin, spokesman says
Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft left Austin after a bruising fight over city regulation, but the wheels are turning to bring the companies back.  

Austin police chief Art Acevedo to run Houston's police department
Austin Police Department Chief Art Acevedo has accepted a job as Houston’s police chief, a source told the Austin American-Statesman on Thursday.

The Big Story

The cost of a public college education in Texas has increased 147 percent since 2002, and The Texas Tribune wants to know how it's affecting families across the state.

•  Universities often oppose tuition regulations because state funding now covers a smaller share of their budgets. In 2015, lawmakers across party lines filed multiple bills seeking to slow or block tuition growth, noting that the statewide average for tuition has more than doubled since the Legislature stopped regulating it in 2003. However, almost all of those bills failed early on.

•  A Texas Tribune analysis from 2015 showed that at nine of the state’s 38 four-year public institutions, tuition and fees went up at a higher rate after 2003 than they did in the decade before it. The nine schools were Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Texas A&M University-Texarkana, Prairie View A&M University, West Texas A&M University, the University of Texas at Brownsville, the University of Houston, the University of Houston-Downtown and the University of Houston-Victoria.

•  The cost of tuition at other universities — including heavyweights the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University in College Station — has also risen, but at a slower rate from 2003 to 2013 than from 1993 to 2003.

•  On Monday, the first day to file bills for the 2017 legislative session, state Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, filed legislation that would cap the amount of tuition public universities can charge students.

Help us report on the impact of rising college tuition prices. Our goal is to compile data to understand trends and differences among different income groups and ages. And we want to hear individual stories that will help us understand how lawmakers’ decisions are affecting people's lives.

What We're Reading

(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)

What wall? Texas Republicans see border fencing, surveillance where Trump supporters see actual barrier, The Dallas Morning News 

How Alex Jones, conspiracy theorist extraordinaire, got Donald Trump’s ear, The Washington Post 

Texas Supreme Court Judge Don Willett's Quiet Revolution, Texas Observer

Collin County officials have new plan to avoid paying for Ken Paxton case: Stiff a public defender, The Dallas Morning News 

Today in TribTalk

"You open a savings account to save for a rainy day so that you can cover unexpected income losses and unforeseen expenses. Similarly, the Texas Legislature insured itself from unforeseeable budget situations when they created the Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF)."

— Vance Ginn and Elliott Raia, Texas Public Policy Foundation 

Trib Events for the Calendar

•   A Symposium Previewing the 85th Legislature on Nov. 29 at The University of Texas - Texas Union Ballroom

•   A Conversation with Michael K. Young, President of Texas A&M University on Dec. 1 at The Austin Club

•   San Antonio & the Legislature: A Preview of the 85th on Dec. 2 at University of Texas at San Antonio – Downtown Campus

•   A Conversation with Sen.-elect Dawn Buckingham & Rep.-elect Hugh Shine on Dec. 8 at Temple College – Arnold Student Union

•   Health Care and the 85th Legislature on Dec. 15 at UT Health Science Center San Antonio - Pestana Lecture Hall

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