The bill, which had at least 90 co-authors as of April 11, overwhelmingly passed the House and now, is on its way to the Senate.
Typically, community colleges are funded through a combination of local property taxes, student tuition and fees. Institutions say the state hasn’t kept up with their rapidly changing needs, currently contributing less than 25 percent.
Based on the bill’s criteria, the funding of schools would be dependent on the number of degrees and certificates colleges award. Students transferring to a four-year university and students completing at least 15 hours of courses that will apply toward academic and workforce requirements.
With the increase of funding, schools could invest in services to eliminate barriers to education, enabling colleges to better meet workforce demands statewide.
Rep. Gary VanDeaver, R-New Boston, filed a related bill that would allow high school students from low-income families to enroll in dual credit courses at no cost through a new Financial Aid for Swift Transfer program. VanDeaver believes the overhaul could “bring students back into community college by increasing affordability. He stressed the need to get “Texans back into classrooms and the workforce training areas to get them skills they need to be successful.”
Additionally, the bill addresses workforce shortages by expanding partnerships between colleges and private employers, providing students with paid, work-based learning opportunities.
“The new funding model will be a game changer in elevating the capacity of community colleges to build a talent-strong workforce throughout the state,” said TCC Chancellor Elva LeBlanc. “More than ever, community colleges have the opportunity to be a vital partner with the communities we serve as an engine for economic development and a pathway for all to high-demand and high-wage careers. Careers that build opportunity and social mobility for those we are privileged to serve.”
About Tarrant County College
Tarrant County College is one of the 20 largest higher education institutions in the United States and boasts the second-lowest tuition of Texas’ Top 10 community colleges. As a comprehensive two-year college with six campuses in Tarrant County, and online, TCC offers a wide range of opportunities for learners of all ages and backgrounds that include traditional programs, such as Associate of Arts or Associate of Applied Science degrees; workforce and economic development programs; technical and skilled trades programs; and customized training programs for area businesses and corporations. Students also may take advantage of Weekend College through which they can complete an associate degree in 18 months or less by attending class full-time through weekend and online classes.
Tarrant County College District provides affordable and open access to quality teaching and learning.
Tarrant County College