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Student Group Gives Texas a B+ on Higher Ed

When it comes to supporting higher education, Texas is good — but not great — according to a nonprofit group focused on economic opportunities for young adults.

Chelsea Stewart listens to a lecture in the College of Health Professions at Texas State University.

When it comes to supporting higher education, Texas is good — but not great — according to a nonprofit group focused on economic opportunities for young adults.

The national group, Young Invincibles, released report cards last week judging every state’s budgetary support for public higher education. It awarded Texas a B+, giving the state high marks for providing monetary aid to students and prioritizing education within the budget, and lower marks for the cost of college and the amount of money spent per student.

“It is unacceptable that, since the Great Recession, the Legislature has cut higher education funding by 15 percent per student,” said Tom Allison, policy and research manager at Young Invincibles, a left-leaning group.

Education is one of several issues in the spotlight as the new legislative session kicks off on Tuesday. Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick, who served on the Senate's Higher Education Committee as a lawmaker, pledged last week to lower college tuition rates.

Citing numbers from Fiscal Year 2013, Allison said Texas college tuition is lower than the national average but has jumped 18 percent since 2007.

Allison also said the state should expand need-based financial aid to “close socioeconomic and racial attainment gaps.”

"While Texas offers an above average amount of grant dollars per student, too little of that aid is awarded by need-based criteria,” he said. “Only one out of every five aid dollars is attached to low-income students.”

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