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Mar 20, 2013 8:37 AM by AP

Higher education leader seeks new tuition increase

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana's top higher education official says the state's investment in public colleges has sunk to its lowest level in more than 50 years when compared to income levels.

Commissioner of Higher Education Jim Purcell is pushing for new rounds of tuition increases to fill the gap.

He is asking lawmakers to give more tuition-setting autonomy to college management boards. He said Tuesday that schools need the ability to charge higher tuition and fee rates for the specialized and higher-cost programs, like engineering and nursing.

Lawmakers have been reticent to grant further tuition increases and have rejected previous attempts to charge different tuition rates for high-demand, high-cost programs. They'll consider the idea in the regular session that begins April 8.

Gov. Bobby Jindal hasn't said whether he'll support new tuition hikes.

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