The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Additional grant money sought for students

By Steve Knight/managing editor

With legislative approval, more than 200,000 eligible students could receive a state grant under a plan submitted by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The coordinating board has requested money for several programs, including an additional $193.6 million for Texas Educational Opportunity Grants, designed for needy community college students, to assist more than 98,000 additional students and an additional $367.6 million for the TEXAS Grants, the state’s primary financial aid program, to assist almost 64,000 additional students.

“We must make it a top priority to make college affordable to all who wish to attend,” said State Rep. Chris Turner, who represents much of Tarrant County, including Fort Worth and Arlington.

“If we want to succeed as a state and a nation, having an educated workforce is essential,” Turner said. “Creating more opportunities through grant programs such as the Texas Educational Opportunity Grant is vital for the future of Texas.”

According to a report from the nonpartisan House Research Organization, only four percent of eligible students receive a Texas Educational Opportunity Grant and 50 percent of eligible students receive the TEXAS Grant.

“Community colleges play an important role in the state’s higher education system by serving more than 500,000 students,” said Gov. Rick Perry in his proposed budget submitted to the Texas Legislature.

According to the budget, Perry recommended an increase to $42 million for the TEOG, serving 8,900 students in the biennium.

“Limited financial aid undermines Texans’ participation and success in our colleges and universities,” said Don Baylor, senior policy analyst for the Austin-based, nonpartisan Center for Public Policy Priorities, in a published policy statement.

“Denied student aid, many students and families either postpone higher education or turn to the increasingly unstable student loan market,” he said. “To remain competitive in the global marketplace, Texas must support students who are seeking higher education.”

More than 35 percent of Texas young adults age 18-24 are enrolled in a college or university, which ranks the state 39th nationally, according to the center’s statement.

One TCC student was thankful for the support grants provide.

“It helps me a lot, and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for grants,” NE student Brandon Kelley said.

Kelley, a Pell Grant recipient, said he has friends who cannot attend college for lack of money.

Another TCC student would like more access to financial aid to finish school sooner.

“I work part-time and want to be less burden on my parents,” NE student Jonathan Grummer said. “It [financial aid] would allow me to go to school full-time. More aid should go to anybody who wants to go to school.”

The coordinating board’s $666.8 million funding request also includes an additional $5 million for the Texas College Work-Study Program and $100.6 million for the B-On-Time Student Loan Program, providing students with forgivable loans for maintaining a B average.

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