Fall 2011 could be the end of PACT, says this disturbing headline from the AP:
Administrators of Alabama's prepaid college tuition plan say it can't pay tuition after the fall semester of 2011 and still have enough money to provide refunds to the 44,000 participants.
Emfinger and Story said that shows the need for the Legislature to address the program's problems in the current session. The Senate and House have passed separate bills to shore up the program with $236 million, but they can't agree on whether to include a cap on tuition increases.
That has to be a desperation shot across the bow of the legislature. The tuition cap increase is key to the bill's passage or failure.
The university system folks are vehemently – if not violently – opposed to any plan that includes tuition caps. Senator (and Rules Committee Chair) Lowell Barron told Save Alabama PACT that he won't allow a vote on the House bill if the caps are in place. While the AEA will withdraw its support if the tuition caps are removed.
Paul Hubbert blames Mike Hubbard. Universities blame the legislature for cutting higher education funding. Informed observers (and bloggers who took the time to dig and do research) note that the PACT board was asleep at the wheel in the years prior to the meltdown.
The fate of 45,000 current and future college students is between a Hubbert/Hubbard and a hard place. With a little slice of Barron on top for decoration.
With this mass of motivated, out for blood families and voters looking for a solution, wouldn't you think there could at least be a vote. Lowell Barron is my senator and this is just another in a long line of disappointments.
The legislative session is 2/3's over. tick, tock….