News Release from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 20, 2007
Contact:Nick Almanza
(512) 463-0121

Senate Passes Zaffirini's Bill Modifying B-On-Time Loan Program

Austin, TX -- The Texas Senate Wednesday (April 18) passed Senate Bill 1496 by Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, which would amend the loan forgiveness provision of the Texas B-On-Time Loan Program to allow students who are graduated within five years from an eligible four-year institution with at least a 2.5 grade point average (GPA) to have 50 percent of their loans forgiven.

SB 1496 builds upon the success of SB 4 (2003) by Zaffirini, which created the B-On-Time Loan Program. It provides Texas students with a zero-interest higher education loan and requires them to be graduated with a 3.0 GPA within four years for a four-year degree or within five years for a five-year degree to have 100 percent of their loans forgiven.

"This legislation is a priority of Lt. Governor David Dewhurst," Senator Zaffirini said. "The bill would promote timely graduation, ease the cost of higher learning and increase higher education access."

SB 1496 would encourage students to complete their degrees timely and make the requirements for loan forgiveness less stringent. Its purpose is to increase student participation.

Several universities and community colleges throughout the state reported recently that work-study and low-income students seldom take out student loans. These students, many of whom must work, claim the loan forgiveness criteria of B-On-Time are difficult to satisfy. SB 1496 would enhance higher education access and affordability by modifying the B-On-Time program to make loans more appealing to students.

"I truly am delighted this bill was passed by the Senate, and I appreciate especially the leadership of Lt. Governor Dewhurst in including the B-On-Time loan program among his higher education priorities," Senator Zaffirini said. "We created B-On-Time to make college more affordable and to encourage students to be graduated timely."

The bill must be passed by the House of Representatives before it can be sent to Governor Rick Perry for final approval. The continued progress of this and all bills authored by Senator Zaffirini can be monitored via the internet at www.zaffirini.senate.state.tx.us or by contacting the Texas Legislative Reference Library's toll free in-state hotline, 1-877-824-7038.

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