The Texas State Senate - Rodney Ellis News Releases
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis
For Immediate Release
July 22, 1999
Contact: Jeremy Warren, (512) 463-0113
Texas Officially Launches HOPE Scholarship Program
Higher Education Coordinating Board unveils rules governing TEXAS Grant Program
(Austin) //The Texas HOPE Scholarship Program was officially launched today with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's adoption of rules governing the TEXAS Grant Program.
"Today marks the beginning of a brighter future for Texas and Texas students," said Ellis. "What has been implemented today means hope for thousands of Texas children tomorrow."
The Board unveiled rules to implement HB 713, by Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) and Representative Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo), creating the $100 million TEXAS (Toward EXcellence, Access, & Success) Grant Program, which will provide tuition and fees to high school students who have completed college preparatory courses in high school and maintain a 2.0 GPA or better in their first year of college. It is based similar to Georgia's groundbreaking HOPE Scholarship program that provides scholarships to any student with a "B" average. The funding will create as many as 10,000 - 11,000 TEXAS grants for Texas students each year.
"The TEXAS Grant program is a significant down payment on our children's future," said Ellis. "The GI Bill created the most highly educated, highly skilled generation our nation has ever seen. The TEXAS Grant program will be a Texas GI Bill for the 21st Century."
Getting a college education is the dividing line between the haves and the have-nots in our society, and its importance will only increase in the high technology, high skill economy of the 21st Century. With education so high a priority, the TEXAS Grant program will ensure that the doors of Texas colleges and universities -- and opportunity -- are open to all Texans.
Texas is already behind the curve in preparing college graduates for the next century. Today, Texas ranks 48th in the nation in percent of high school students earning a college degree. We would need to produce an additional 16,100 college graduates simply to meet the national average, an increase of over 20 percent.
"I truly believe that today is the day that we begin to turn that statistic around," said Senator Ellis. "TEXAS Grants tell our students that, if you work hard and get the grades, you will get a college education. This program will revolutionize the way Texas provides financial aid, and will become the main ingredient of our higher education strategy in the 21st Century."
Background on TEXAS Grants/HOPE Scholarships
- HB 713 appropriates $100 million over the 2000-2001 biennium.
Other states yearly scholarship/grant programs are doing more:
|State -- Amount.
||Spending per capita
|Florida -- $120 million.
|| Population: 14.9 million.
|| Spending per capita: $8.05
|Georgia -- $175 million.
|| Population: 7.6 million.
|| Spending per capita: $23.03
|Kentucky -- $7 million.
|| Population: 3.9 million.
|| Spending per capita: $1.79
|Louisiana -- $36 million.
|| Population: 4.4 million.
|| Spending per capita: $8.34
|Maryland-- $25 million.
|| Population: 5.1 million
||Spending per capita: $4.90
|South Carolina --$50 million
|| Population: 3.8 million.
|| Spending per capita: $13.16
|Texas -- $50 million (avg)
|| Population: 19.7 million.
|| Spending per capita: $2.54
- Would provide funds for 10,000 -11,000 new grants over the biennium. Because funds are limited, Texas' HOPE Scholarship plan will begin as a need-based program. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board estimates that available funds for those with an estimated family income of $15,000 or less.
- A Texas public or private high school graduate completes the recommended or advanced (honors) preparatory course work (e.g. advanced English, integrated physics and chemistry, computer science).
- A TEXAS Grant is awarded based on the student's overall financial ability to cover the customary cost of attendance (tuition, fees, books, room, board, transportation). HOPE awards are equal to the average tuition and mandatory fees at a public university (approximately $2400), adjusted for course load.
- The TEXAS recipient must carry a course load equal to three-fourths of a full load (9 hours), maintain a 2.0 GPA first year, 2.5 thereafter, and complete 75 percent of their course work (without falling below 9 hours) each semester. If any requirement is not met, the recipient must complete one probationary semester without the scholarship -- while fulfilling the requirements -- in order to regain the scholarship.
- If the TEXAS recipient is a junior or senior and pursuing a degree in teaching in a critical shortage area, they are eligible for cancelable Teach for Texas grants equal to 200 percent of their scholarship (approximately $4800/year without exceeding their estimated cost of attendance). The grants may be used for any customary cost of attendance, including books, room and board. One-fifth of the grant amount will be waived from repayment for each year the Teach for Texas recipient teaches in a critical teacher shortage school designated by the commissioner.