News Release from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Nick Almanza
(512) 463-0121
March 5, 2007

Sen. Zaffirini Files Legislation Promoting Higher Education Excellence

AUSTIN -- Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, filed legislation on Thursday (March 1) aimed at ensuring access, affordability and excellence in Texas higher education. The six bills address multiple issues regarding higher education, from work-study mentorships to strengthening regulations banning hazing, and build on Senator Zaffirini's highest legislative priority of supporting and advancing higher education throughout the state.

"Higher education, its practices and policies are of immense importance to our state's future because our growth, both economic and cultural, is coupled fundamentally with the success of our students and institutions," Senator Zaffirini said. "These bills would enrich higher education practices and policies and help our students and institutions succeed."

SB 1050 would create new work-study opportunities by developing a program through which students could serve as peer mentors and tutors as part of their work-study financial aid program.

SB 1051 would provide waivers to the core curriculum for foreign students enrolled in international institutions in a joint-degree program with Texas colleges and universities.

SB 1052 would address higher education affordability by developing financial incentives to encourage students to complete the core curriculum at a community college and transfer to a four-year institution.

SB 1053 would require the Higher Education Coordinating Board, advising professionals and higher education representatives to develop an assessment of advisors at institutions of higher education to improve the quality of advising.

SB 1054 significantly would strengthen and clarify provisions of existing statutes banning hazing in schools.

SB 1055 would establish a commission to study and report on the projected need for faculty at public and private institutions of higher education.

Senator Zaffirini is chair of the Senate Higher Education Subcommittee and a member of the Senate Education Committee. Prior to the 2007 legislative session she pre-filed SB 49, which provides financial relief to college students by allowing them to purchase textbooks tax-free during the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. Senator Zaffirini has filed a total of 49 bills for this year's 80th legislative session.

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