FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6, 2011
(AUSTIN) — The Texas Senate on Wednesday (April 6) overwhelmingly voted to pass Senate Bill (SB) 28 by Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, reforming the TEXAS Grant program by prioritizing grants for high-achieving, low-income students.
"TEXAS Grants have opened the door to a college education for thousands of low-income Texas students," Senator Zaffirini said."Because the state does not fund the program adequately, however, 30 percent of eligible students do not receive grants. Accordingly, we must maximize limited state funding by prioritizing TEXAS grants for students who demonstrate financial need and are most likely to succeed." SB 28 would prioritize TEXAS grant awards for high-achieving students who meet two of four eligibility criteria:
- completing the equivalent of 12 semester credit hours of college level programs in high school (dual credit, Advanced Placement, or International Baccalaureate) or completing the Distinguished Achievement Program;
- satisfaction of the Texas Success Initiative college readiness benchmarks on an approved assessment instrument or through qualification for an authorized exemption;
- completing high school with a B average on a four point zero scale or graduating in the top one-third of the student's high school class; or
- successfully completing a mathematics course higher than Algebra II.
SB 28 would not change the requirement that a student must demonstrate financial need-an Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) of less than $4,000-to be eligible for a TEXAS Grant. Among students who meet the aforementioned criteria, top priority would be given to those with the lowest EFCs.
"SB 28 would re-focus the TEXAS Grant program on its original mission: helping low-income students who will benefit greatly from financial assistance," Senator Zaffirini said. "Because of the grants, these students are able to afford college and be graduated timely."
SB 28 was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration. The continued progress of this and all bills authored by Senator Zaffirini can be monitored via the internet at www.legis.state.tx.us or by contacting the Texas Legislative Reference Library's toll free in-state hotline, 1-877-824-7038.
SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI joins Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst in attending commencement ceremonies at Texas A&M International University in Laredo. As Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, Senator Zaffirini champions legislation and funding that support all Texas colleges and universities.