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Senator Judith Zaffirini: District 21
Press Release
May 6, 2011
Contact: Will Krueger
(512) 463-0121
Zaffirini Bill Establishes Texas Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Challenge Scholarship

(AUSTIN) — The Texas Senate on Friday (May 6) overwhelmingly voted to promote the recruitment, retention and graduation of students in high-tech disciplines by creating the Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (T-STEM) Challenge Scholarship program.

A priority of Governor Rick Perry's, Senate Bill (SB) 1729 would establish the T-STEM Challenge Scholarship program for students at community colleges who are pursuing degrees and certificates in these high-demand fields.

"SB 1729 helps ensure that our state's workforce remains competitive in today's global economy," Senator Zaffirini said. "To compete for jobs in high-tech fields, Texas students need access to quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics education."

In 2005 Governor Perry announced the Texas Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math initiative to further this goal. SB 1729 would allow the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to provide the scholarships to students in high-tech fields as long as at least 50 percent of the funding comes from private sources.

Senator Zaffirini, Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, long has championed legislation to improve T-STEM education. In 2009 she passed SB 2262, which expanded opportunities for teachers to participate in math, science and technology teacher preparation academies. She also sponsored and passed HB 2235 (2009), which helped fund the construction of rural technology centers that prepare students for careers in applied technology and other highly-skilled industries.

SB 1729 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 or by contacting the Texas Legislative Reference Library's toll free in-state hotline, 1-877-824-7038.

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SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI, D-LAREDO, is Chair of the Texas Senate Higher Education Committee. She champions legislation and funding that promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.