College tuition and legislators

State legislators have played little to no role in what tuition will be at the state’s public colleges, a reality that could change as President Obama steps up the pressure on colleges to stop raising tuition.

During the first Higher Education Committee meeting this year, state Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, asked how the state plans to react to Obama’s intention to tie federal funding to affordable tuition rates.

“This is incredibly important,” she said.

Rep. Roberta Willis, the co-chairwoman of the committee, said the committee will be considering the future of the General Assembly’s role in setting tuition this session.

“We can have the discussion of how we may want to accomplish that, whether it’s actual legislation or simply bringing the schools before us for an informational hearing for them to explain the changes in tuition,” said Willis, D-Salisbury.

Public colleges and universities already are required to report planned tuition increases to the state executive branch’s chief fiscal arm, the Office of Policy and Management. An attempt two years ago by the committee to have the public universities notify them before increasing tuition failed.