AUSTIN (KXAN) — Rep. Mary González, D- El Paso, filed a bill Tuesday which would create transparency and accountability by capping tuition at current levels unless the Texas Legislature authorizes an increase.

The state de-regulated tuition in 2003, a decision which made universities and colleges responsible for setting tuition rates. In that time, according to a release from González’s office, tuition and fees have more than doubled, outpacing inflation by thousands of dollars. 

According to the release, students graduating in Texas with Bachelor’s degrees leave with an average debt of $30,516, which is over 70 percent of their first-year wages. The release also indicates that the issue hits students of color even harder, with African-American student debt comprising over 100 percent of their first-year wages.

“We have some of the best colleges and universities in the country in Texas,” said González. “Students should be able to choose which university or college they want to attend, without putting themselves in severe debt. This bill will return responsibility to the legislature to increase access to higher education and safeguard our students’ futures.”

González asserts that the ballooning price of higher education opens the door to increased student loan debt and financial instability for students.