Wendy Davis, Democratic candidate for Governor, outlined her proposal to make college affordable.
As Governor, Wendy Davis will work hard for every Texan to have the same higher education opportunities that made such a difference in her own life. She will ensure that Texans are prepared for jobs today and careers tomorrow. Specifically, Wendy will:
- Create Educational Opportunities for all Texans
- Create a Career-Technical Coordinating Board to facilitate coordination among local industries, community and technical colleges, and public high schools and streamline the entry of Texas students into 21st century technical jobs.
- Improve Adult Education and Literacy programs to make it easier for Texans to transition from adult education to the workforce.
- Make College Affordable
- Commit to achieving full funding for the TEXAS Grant program to improve education accessibility and affordability for Texas families.
- Work with the Texas Prepaid Higher Education Tuition Board to ensure the Texas Tuition Promise fund remains a reliable saving tool for Texas families by improving program outreach and public awareness efforts.
- Improve accessibility to the B-On-Time low interest loan program, including opening the program to part-time students.
- Establish a sales tax exemption program for college students’ textbooks to lessen the cost of higher education for hardworking students and families.
- Improve Graduation and Retention Rates
- Encourage Texas schools to experiment with programs aimed at assisting first and second year students to navigate the personal and academic challenges they will face as they transition into higher education.
- Expand the Number of Texas Universities Ranked at Tier One Status
- Continue to support and encourage Tier One initiatives to ensure Texas creates more world-class research universities.
I must say this is the strongest higher education proposal I’ve seen in a long time. No doubt Texas needs movement on college retention and graduation rates, and the proposed sales tax break to college textbooks and supplies is something student activists have been proposing for quite a while.
“For too long, the insider network in Austin has left our schools underfunded, understaffed and our children undervalued,” said Senator Davis. “Greg Abbott has been in court, defending over $5 billion in cuts to more than 600 Texas school districts and the children who go to those schools. That means overcrowded classrooms, thousands of teachers being laid off, schools being closed down, and our sons and daughters missing out on opportunities that will prepare them for the 21st century.”
I don’t expect the Republicans to offer much of anything on higher education. The Texas economy needs a well-prepared workforce at all levels, so, I’m glad that Davis is elevating these topics. If the Republican response is, “How do we pay for it?,” then obviously, they aren’t all that interested in doing anything bold to improve access to higher education.