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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Lawmakers reviewing college-related issues

Texas+legislators+are+discussing+issues+that+will+impact+colleges%2C+including+those+involving+carrying+guns+on+campus.+%0APhoto+by+Georgia+Phillips%2FThe+Collegian
Texas legislators are discussing issues that will impact colleges, including those involving carrying guns on campus. Photo by Georgia Phillips/The Collegian
Bill Zedler
Bill Zedler

By Karen Gavis/editor-in-chief

Texas legislators are hammering out issues that will impact TCC and other colleges, including funding and guns on campus.

During spring break, Texas lawmakers pondered whether concealed handguns could be carried onto campuses in the future. The Campus Personal Protection Act, which was heard by and left pending in the House March 14, does not stand alone in the arena of political debate.

Other currently pending bills include one that bans human cloning and another that would require undergraduate students at public universities to complete 20 hours of unpaid community service before earning their degrees or certificates involving 60 or more hours.

A particular area of concern for TCC is expected changes in funding. The state may withhold part of the college’s funds, possibly 10 percent, that could later be earned back through student success points. Under the plan, points could be earned when students receive credentials, transfer to a four-year university, etc.

“Another really big item for us is the matching benefits for our retirement contributions. That is still uncertain,” Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley said during a February board meeting. “We’ll know after May, unless there’s a special session, what the answers are to these questions.”

Texas legislators are discussing issues that will impact colleges, including those involving carrying guns on campus.  Photo by Georgia Phillips/The Collegian
Texas legislators are discussing issues that will impact colleges, including those involving carrying guns on campus.
Photo by Georgia Phillips/The Collegian

Director of business affairs Kim Lambert-Thomas said a rule enacted in 2002 imposed a limit on formula funding for repeated courses. Because of the rule, colleges do not receive funding for courses a student has previously attempted more than twice. In response to the loss of funding, TCC is now proposing a $60-per-credit-hour tuition surcharge on courses attempted a third time.

“A review of fall 2011 data revealed 3,137 courses were repeated for the three or more times,” she said. “For the academic year 2011-2012, TCC estimated a $1.3 million dollar loss in funding.”

SE students received a lesson on the inner workings of the Capitol from Rep. Bill Zedler March 7 when he was a guest speaker in government instructor Darrell Castillo’s standing-room-only class. Many students sat on the floor while listening to the state representative speak on various topics including the difficulty of having a bill heard and a committee chair’s determining whether a bill actually acquires a vote.

“Probably, we’ll have about 6,000 bills filed,” he said. “We’ll probably pass eight or nine hundred, something like that,” he said.

Zedler said some bills never make it out of the committee.

“Listen, in order for me to get my bills passed, I have to go along with the leadership,” he said.

Zedler said a few significant bills filed this session regarding higher education would require four-year fixed price tuition and implement measures to accelerate timely graduations.

Zedler is co-sponsor of the Campus Personal Protection Act and has also filed a bill attempting to alter complaint-handling procedures among Texas colleges.

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