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