Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
January 27, 2009
Contact: Jeremy Warren, (512) 463-0113

Senator Ellis Praises Perry Call for $110 million Increase for TEXAS Grants

(Austin, Texas) — Senator Rodney Ellis today released the following statement regarding Governor Rick Perry's call for a $110 million increase to the TEXAS Grants program during his State of the State speech:

"I commend Governor Perry for his call for an additional $110 million in funds for the TEXAS Grant program. At a time of rising economic uncertainty, we can and should give middle-class Texas families a boost in paying for college.

"It has become old hat for politicians to talk about the importance of getting a college education. A college graduate earns over $1 million more over the course of their lifetime than someone with only a high school diploma. Our state currently ranks 45th in the number of high school students that enroll in college. We are the 2nd-largest state and the fastest growing, yet Texas provides about $120 million less in direct state grants to students than the other five largest states. Plain and simple, when it comes to investing in our college students, Texas talks a bigger game then it delivers.

"To back our words, in 1999 we created the TEXAS Grant program to ensure Texas produces enough college graduates for the 21st century economy. By every possible measure, the program is a smashing success. Over 206,000 Texas students have used a TEXAS Grant to go to college, and those students have achieved remarkable results.

"Unfortunately, rather than protect and promote the program, the legislature has let the program wither on the vine through frozen spending, skyrocketing tuition costs and rising eligibility. In 2001, we tripled funding for the program and ensured that every eligible student received a TEXAS Grant; today barely half do. Without a significant increase, more students will lose their TEXAS Grant and watch as the door to college is closed.

"Governor Perry's call for a significant increase in resources without burdensome new requirements should serve as a wake-up call to the legislature to support a program vital to Texas' future success."