PRESS RELEASE
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
January 3, 2001
Contact: Jeremy Warren, (512) 463-0113

Governor Perry, Senator Ellis Call for Dramatic Increase of TEXAS Grants

AUSTIN -- State Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) joined Governor Rick Perry today at a press conference in calling for a major increase in funding to the TEXAS Grant Program.

"I am extremely pleased by Governor Perry's proposal to significantly increase funding for the TEXAS Grant Program," said Senator Ellis. "Last session, Governor Perry joined me in my effort to create the TEXAS Grant Program, and his announcement today demonstrates his continuing committment to opening the doors to college. I look forward to working with him this session to help more Texas school children get a college education."

"Education is the key that opens the door to opportunity," said Ellis. "The TEXAS Grant Program will provide thousands of young Texans the chance the to get the education they need to compete in the 21st Century. California spends a billion dollars a year on a similar program. Texas must do more or our children will be left behind. Increasing the funding and making improvements in promoting the program are vital in our efforts to offer qualified students the opportunity to achieve a college education."

Last session, Senator Ellis and Representative Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) authored House Bill 713, creating the TEXAS Grant Program. The $100 million program provides tuition and fees to qualifying college students. In the program's initial two years of existence, it has provided nearly 11,000 new grants each year to Texas students seeking to continue their education.

The TEXAS Grant program represents the largest amount of state funding ever appropriated to a financial aid program in Texas. Currently, students from households earning approximately $25,000 or less qualify for the program. Governor Perry's initiative would raise the household earning cap up to $50,000. According to the TEXAS Grants Oversight Committee, increasing eligibility to $50,000 would require an additional $211 million in funding over the next two years.

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