News Release from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 23, 2008
Contact: Celeste Villarreal
512/463-0121

Education, Industry Leaders Testify Before Higher Education Subcommittees

(AUSTIN) -- Testimony regarding college student and facility loans, future economic and related workforce trends and healthcare insurance for students highlighted today's (Wednesday) higher education hearings at the Texas Capitol.

The Senate Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education held a joint hearing with the Senate Higher Education Subcommittee to address the interim charges issued by Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst about facility loans and to make recommendations regarding any necessary changes in the statutes and administration of the loans.

Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, chair of the Senate Finance Higher Education Subcommittee and chair of the Senate Higher Education Subcommittee, joined members of the two committees to discuss the statutes, effects, and success and failures of higher education authorities that issue bonds used for student loans and facility construction.

Testimony was offered by representatives from South Texas Higher Education Authority, North Texas Higher Education Authority, Panhandle Plains Higher Education Authority, Office of the Attorney General, Brazos Higher Education Service Corporation, and McCall, Parkhurst & Horton law firm.

After the joint committee adjourned the Senate Higher Education Subcommittee convened to hear testimony regarding future economic trends, related workforce trends, and healthcare insurance for students.

"Each session we focus on financing higher education and the needs of college students, including health insurance," Senator Zaffirini said. "We must develop a consensus about how to work with industry and civic leaders and with educators in developing a strong workforce and ensuring the future wellbeing of Texas. Our Senate committees are studying all options so that legislators can prioritize adequate education funding and healthcare for our young people."

The legislature appropriated $16.5 billion for higher education during the current biennium.

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