BILL WOULD REQUIRE ACADEMIC SUCCESS FOR TUITION WAIVERS
(AUSTIN) — The Texas Senate voted Monday to approve a measure that would require a student to maintain a C-average to receive tuition exemptions and waivers at state institutions of higher education. Laredo Senator Judith Zaffirini told colleagues that of the 43 tuition exemptions available to students at Texas public universities, only five require any kind of academic achievement to maintain the exemption. " Students may take as many courses as they wish without showing any satisfactory academic progress, and institutions must continue to provide them with tuition exemptions," she said. Her bill, SB 1210, would require that a student maintain a 2.0 out of 4-point grade average to keep receiving any state tuition waiver or exemption. It also limits to thirty the number of hours a student can take beyond their degree plan and still receive an exemption. The bill would exempt students under hardship, like illness, military service or for family reasons.
Also Monday, the Senate voted to extend the suspension of public school accountability measures for another year. The Legislature is currently considering reforms to the state's end-of-course exams, which are a primary factor in determining campus ratings and accountability. While the state works through these reforms, lawmakers don't think it's fair to punish schools for failing to meet accountability standards that they are working on changing. SB 1109, by Greenville Senator Bob Deuell, would suspend ratings and accreditation reviews through the end of this school year. The exception to this is that schools that have improved achievement could still move up in the ratings, but no school would be lowered in ranking while the review of the state's accountability standards are underway.
Both bills now head to the House for consideration.
The Senate will reconvene Tuesday, April 9 at 11 a.m.