February 17, 2003
There ain't no such thing as a free tuition

Oooh, this one's gonna sting: The state of Texas may have to renege on promises to pay college tuition for eligible students:

An estimated 5,000 students would be denied free college tuition promised to them by the state because of the projected $10 billion budget shortfall, lawmakers were told today.

Texas Higher Education Commissioner Don Brown told members of the House Appropriations Committee that budget cuts would mean the Texas Grant scholarship program would not be able to provide aid to all of the estimated 80,000 students who will be eligible in 2004-05.


High school graduates who passed a college preparatory curriculum are eligible for the Toward Excellence, Access & Success grants if they attend a Texas institution.

The Legislature created the program in 1999 to cover full tuition and fees at public schools and defray costs at private universities.

Brown said it would take $440 million, up from the current $300 million, to meet the projected demand for the grants in the next two years.

He emphasized that he would rather not slash any of the programs but was required by the governor and lawmakers to identify potential cuts.

Yet another consequence of our state's fetish about spending. We have a growing population, we know that a college degree is an excellent boost to one's future earning potential, yet we spend less on state grants per student than the national average, we have less state support for student aid than the national average, and we have an increase in borrowing by students. And now we're proposing to make it all worse, even though certain high-level politicians were happy to tout this very program this year and in years past. Oops, sorry kids, this sort of thing is only important when there's an election coming up.

I know, I know, this is all preliminary, and we must explore all avenues, and yadda yadda yadda. I just want to know one thing: Does anyone in Austin think that cutting education funding might possibly incur long-term costs that will have a negative impact on future budgets, or is this biennial session all they care about?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 17, 2003 to Budget ballyhoo | TrackBack

"or is this biennial session all they care about?"

We all know the answer to that question, don't we?

Posted by: Ted Barlow on February 18, 2003 11:03 AM