College should be affordable for every family. Texas House Democrats continued our strong support for community colleges and universities throughout the 2017 Legislative Session. Most importantly, we demanded more money for financial aid programs like TEXAS Grants. At a time when nearly half of Texas students are at risk of losing their financial aid, the state budget through 2019 has enough funding to ensure 92% of eligible students can receive this much-needed assistance.
Texas House Democrats were also at the forefront of working to make college campuses more safe, by pushing numerous measures aimed at reducing sexual assaults on campuses. Though not every bill pursued went into law, the focus and attention given to the issue is a difference we can build on in coming sessions.
Here’s a sample of some of the legislation championed by Texas House Democrats in 2017:
Ensuring College Students don’t Pay Twice for Classes
This bill overhauls the Texas Success Initiative so that a college freshman can take a developmental course while also taking a freshman-level course, rather than taking the two classes at different times
(and paying twice).
Preparing Students for a Career in Healthcare
This bill establishes a pilot program under which a licensed hospital may offer dual credit classes to high school students, providing early preparation for students interested in a career in healthcare.
Increasing Access to Tuition Equalization Grants
This bill increases to two the amount of times a private university may lose its accreditation and be granted a temporary approval from the Higher Education Coordinating Board a to continue to participate in the Tuition Equalization Grant Program, further helping private university students have access to grants.
Streamlining Sexual Assault Reporting
This bill requires all universities to provide an option for students to report sexual assaults online. Making this process easier and more private will facilitate more reporting of such offenses.
Protecting Health of College Students with Allergies
This bill authorizes each public university to adopt a policy regarding the maintenance, storage, administration, and disposal of epinephrine auto-injectors on the institution’s campus, helping to ensure that college students with dangerous allergies have access to life-saving technology.