Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
February 1, 2006
Contact: Kenneth Besserman, 512-463-0113

Senator Ellis Applauds Public/Private Partnership on TEXAS Grants

AUSTIN -- Today the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board announced a gift of $250,000 from the Texas Retailers Education Foundation to the TEXAS Grant Program which will secure an additional 200 grants for students to attend universities and colleges in Texas. The gift is the first of its kind by a private entity to the state's most successful college financial aid program.

Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston), the author of the TEXAS Grant Program and the author of the amendment that allowed private entities to make gifts to the TEXAS Grant Program, applauded the gift by the Texas Retailers Education Foundation.

"I want to commend the Texas Retailers Education Foundation for donating $250,000 to the TEXAS Grant Program. In the past two sessions we have seen the TEXAS Grant Program lose some funding and then regain a small portion. Any additional money that the TEXAS Grant Program receives is an added bonus. I am confident that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, together with the Texas Retailers Education Foundation, will use this money wisely and help those deserving students achieve a higher education that is so badly needed in today's changing world. I hope that this gift will encourage other businesses and private entities to become involved in the education of our young adults."

Originally filed as Senate Bill 1553 during the 2005 session, Senator Ellis added the language to Senate Bill 1227 in the last days of the session. The amendment authorizes the Higher Education Coordinating Board to solicit and accept donations from public and private sources for this program.

In 1999 Senator Ellis authored the TEXAS Grant Program. The TEXAS Grant Program pays for tuition and fees at a Texas college or university for qualified students. Since its creation, over 115,000 young Texans have received 235,000 TEXAS Grants totaling over $648 million to help them pay for college.