The Texas State Senate - Rodney Ellis News Releases
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis
For Immediate Release
August 9, 1999
Contact: Jeremy Warren, (512) 463-0113
Senator Ellis Named to TEXAS Grant Oversight Committee
Lt. Gov. Perry selects three senators to monitor $100 million scholarship program
(Austin)// --Lieutenant Governor Rick Perry today selected Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) to serve on the Legislative Oversight Committee on the TEXAS and Teach for Texas Grant Programs. The Committee will be charged with reviewing the programs and monitoring their implementation.
"I am honored that Lieutenant Governor Perry has selected me to help oversee this program," said Senator Ellis, the Senate sponsor of legislation creating the $100 million TEXAS (Toward EXcellence, Access, & Success) Grant Program.
Beginning this fall, TEXAS Grants 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 similar to Georgia's groundbreaking HOPE Scholarship program that provides college scholarships to any high school graduate with a "B" average. The funding will create as many as 10,000 - 11,000 TEXAS grants for Texas students each year.
"The world economy demands a highly skilled workforce. Yet, despite a booming population, Texas' college enrollment currently grows only 1 percent annually. That rate lags far behind the national average," said Senator Ellis. "I believe the TEXAS Grant program holds the key to increasing those numbers and preparing our workforce."
Language in HB 713, by Senator Rodney Ellis and Representative Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo), establishes the oversight committee. The committee will be composed of three senators, chosen by the lieutenant governor, and three representatives, chosen by House Speaker Pete Laney (D-Hale Center). Senator Ellis joins Senators Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio) and Steve Ogden (R-Bryan) on the oversight committee.
Before the legislature meets again in January 2001, the committee must meet with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to consider the implementation of the TEXAS Grant program. The committee has the authority to request reports and data concerning the program and must file a report with the governor and legislature by the end of next year.
Rules for the program were adopted by the Board last month and go into effect with the fall semester.
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.