Senate Passes SB 1234 by Zaffirini and Watson to Enhance Texas' Higher Education Master Plan
Austin, TX -- The Texas Senate Thursday (April 26) passed Senate
Bill 1234 by Senators Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, and Kirk Watson, D-Austin, which
would redefine planning for higher education. It would require the Texas Higher
Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to redirect its higher education master
plan to prepare students to participate effectively in the state's public
affairs and in the global economy.
meet the goals of closing the gaps in higher education, SB 1234 would provide
greater specificity as to how the Coordinating Board develops its plan and
would ensure that the state is best able to address the needs of its students
"SB 1234 combines three effective bills that will enhance greatly the state's ability
to create higher education excellence," Senator Zaffirini said. "In Closing
the Gaps, Texas established an
ambitious plan to ensure that more students are able to receive an outstanding
college education. My and Senator Watson's bill improves this plan by directing
the Coordinating Board to consider more detailed and more specific issues
leading to statewide higher education success."
legislation offers a roadmap to make Texas a force in the 21st Century
economy," Senator Watson said. "Texas can and must do a better
job of preparing future generations for the possibilities and challenges that
lie ahead. Here, we will approach higher education through a long-range
lens, and that holds great promise for our children and our state."
bill would require THECB's master plan to define the missions and roles of
public institutions of higher education consistently with state needs and
goals; establish more effective methods for funding higher education; establish
a coherent long-term financial aid strategy that takes into account both needs
and merit; strengthen collaboration between two- and four-year institutions;
and develop and institutionalize long-term collaboration between primary,
secondary and higher education.
more, it includes provisions from SB 1055 by Zaffirini, which would direct the
THECB to consider the number of new faculty members needed to achieve the goals
of Closing the Gaps, as well as
the disciplines in which these faculty members would be needed; the number of qualified
persons available to serve as faculty members in Texas and throughout the nation
and the demand for their services; and the capacity of institutions in Texas to
prepare future qualified faculty members.
1234 includes provisions from SB 1919 by Watson, which would charge the THECB
with considering the state's allocation of and need for resources for medical
education, including graduate medical education; geographic distribution of
these resources; and the value of associating a medical school with a top-tier
bill also includes provisions from SB 1772 by Watson, which would charge THECB
with discovering incentives and requirements for seamless student transitions
between and among high schools, community and technical colleges, universities,
and health-related institutions, including concurrent enrollment and dual
credit; examining the current and projected capacity concerns of The University
of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University in College Station; methods for
ensuring that these institutions maintain their competitiveness with other
flagship universities; the creation of additional flagship public research
universities; alternative methods of funding universities and community
colleges, in particular whether and how research universities should be funded;
and a new component of the TEXAS Grant program to include a work study program
that targets students in grades P-12 to ensure that they become college ready.
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
SENATORS JUDITH ZAFFIRINI, D-LAREDO, AND KIRK WATSON, D-AUSTIN, discuss SB 1234. The bill would require the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to redirect its higher education master plan to prepare students to participate effectively in the state's public affairs and in the global economy.