Increase TEXAS Grants
|Agenda Tuition Relief Top Ten TEXAS Grants|
Support SB 1398, SB 1399, SB 1553. Oppose HB 3000. (Check bill status)
A well-educated workforce is the fuel that drives the 21st Century economy. To ensure Texas produces enough college graduates for the new economy, the Texas Legislature in 1999 created the TEXAS Grant program. Unfortunately, the TEXAS Grant program and the Texas Tomorrow Fund have been severely hurt by the effects of tuition deregulation, both of which have succeeded in providing access to higher education in Texas to minority students. Restoring cut funding to these programs, as well as placing caps back on tuition, is critical to improving access to higher education.
Issues and Concerns
- The current budget plans are proposing slashing the TEXAS Grants budget and cutting its recipients. Last year alone, the program denied 22,000 qualified students from receiving a grant due to a lack of funds. However, lower-income students benefit from TEXAS Grants. In 2003, 66% of recipients of TEXAS Grants came from households that made less than $40,000 a year - Texas' state median income for that year. For many of these students, a college or university education would be unattainable without this assistance.
- Cutting TEXAS Grants will have a detrimental effect on minority populations in Texas universities. While many Texas campuses have only small amounts of minority students, many who do attend rely on TEXAS grants for the opportunity to pursue higher education. Elimination of this program will likely further reduce minority representation on all campuses.
- Over 64,000 grants have been awarded to Hispanic students, 46 percent of all grants.
- Over 18,000 grants have been awarded to African American students, 13 percent of all grants.
- Only 5% of UT Austin's 2004 freshman class was African American, and only 17% Hispanic, less than half of their percentage of the state's population.
- Proposals like HB 3000 would require that students wanting TEXAS Grants be placed on the B-On-Time loan program. Unfortunately, many working students do not finish within 4 years, and roughly 77% of undergraduates at four-year colleges have jobs and about 26% of students work full time. Only 16.8 percent of TEXAS Grant students graduate within four years. With the stringent requirements of graduating in exactly 4 years and maintaining a 3.0 GPA, state leaders estimate that proposals like HB 3000 would cut approximately 75 percent of TEXAS Grant participants.
- For the second straight year, the $1.5 billion Texas Tomorrow Fund will accept no new enrollment, simply due to wild fluctuation from tuition deregulation. The fund is a prepaid program that relies on predicting future tuition costs.
- Texas is falling behind in enrolling students in higher education. California and Illinois have a 6% of their population pursuing higher education. While this doesn't sound like much, Texas would have to have 200,000 more students right now to have the same proportion of college and university students as California.
Texas provides $140 million less in state financial aid than the other five most populous states in the nation, despite ranking second in total population. To provide access to minorities and to better all Texans, the Legislature needs to increase funding for state grants for higher education!