Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
September 10, 2007
Contact: Margaret Justus
281-250-8253

Senator Ellis Thanks Texas Retail Education Foundation for Supporting TEXAS Grants Program

(HOUSTON) -- Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis publicly thanked the Texas Retailers Education Foundation (TREF) for a gift of $180,000 to the TEXAS Grants Program through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s College for All Texans Foundation. TREF’s latest donation follows the foundations’ two previous gifts of $250,000 each bringing the total amount donated to $680,000.

"This generous donation on behalf of the Texas Retailers Education Foundation is a great example of how successful business people can change the lives for the better of young deserving Texans and at the same time help our economy grow," said Senator Ellis, the author of the eight year-old TEXAS Grants Program. The program has provided college tuition to thousands of qualifying graduating Texas seniors who attend four-year public Texas colleges and universities and/or second-year students at community, state and technical colleges.

"This private donation underscores the enormous success of the TEXAS Grants program which relies on state dollars. Eight years ago when we created the program, 11,000 Texas students were given a chance to reach their dream of attending college. Today, despite being faced with funding shortages and the rising cost of tuition, more than 161,000 Texans have received a TEXAS Grant and these students are graduating at a higher rate than non-TEXAS Grants students.

"I am truly proud of the work we did to launch the TEXAS Grants program and I intend to continue to fight to gain more public dollars to fully fund the program so thousands of more deserving Texans can build a better life and help build a strong Texas economy."

More About TEXAS Grants
To open the door of college to more young Texans, Senator Ellis authored landmark legislation in 1999 creating the TEXAS Grants program. The Program provides tuition and fees to students who have excelled academically and have taken the advance and recommended curriculum in high school.

In 2000, the first year of the program, nearly 11,000 students received Texas Grants to pay for college. By 2002, every eligible student in Texas - 68,178 received a TEXAS Grant to attend college. Unfortunately, beginning in 2003 funding cuts and the rising cost of college tuition left many students unable to attend college.

This past session Senator Ellis fought to restore those funding cuts and helped increase the funding from $334 million to $427 million - securing aid for 35,000 additional students to attend college in 2008 and 2009. However, despite these funding increases fewer students will receive a TEXAS Grants next year than in 2002.

Senator Ellis will continue to push for full funding for TEXAS Grants to ensure that every eligible and deserving student has the opportunity to attend college.

For more information about TEXAS grants or to apply go to http://www.collegefortexans.com/.

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