Texas State Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, filed legislation Dec. 9 to address the significant growth of the cost of public higher education for Texas families, according to news release.

The bill, Senate Bill 235, would cap student fees at their current level for one year and prohibit any future increases from exceeding the rate of inflation unless approved by a majority vote of the student body.

“It is important that students have a say in how quickly and by how much fees are raised as student fees are a less obvious, but a significant and growing portion of higher education costs," he said in the release.

As higher education costs continue to outpace inflation, almost half of baccalaureate graduates in Texas leave their institution saddled with student loan debt, the release said. In 2017, new college graduates had debt balances that averaged more than 50% of their first-year wages, according to data from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

“Will the cost of a college education continue to rise until it’s no longer an option for the majority of Texas students? This bill represents a modest step towards keeping the dream of higher education affordable and attainable for hardworking students and their families," Schwertner said.

The bill is one of several Schwertner plans to put forward during the 87th Texas legislative session, which begins Jan. 12.