The Budget Puzzle–Part Four

Almost 1.5 million students were enrolled in credit courses at a Texas college or university in Fall 2011—more than 9 out of 10 of them at a public institution. Public community and other two-year colleges alone enroll more than half of all students in the state. Higher education funding, including financial aid, is 15 percent of the General Revenue budget in 2012-13, down slightly from its 17 percent share of the 2002-03 state budget. Meanwhile, statewide average tuition, mandatory fees, and other college and course expenses have shot up by 90% between the Fall 2003 and Fall 2011 semesters, making financial aid even more important for low-income families.

Yet the 2011 session resulted in a $126 million cut to the Higher Education Coordinating Board’s financial aid grants, and higher education institutions took a $1.4 billion General Revenue current services cut.

For 2014-15, the Higher Education Coordinating Board recommends

  • a $605 million increase to cover formula-driven growth, primarily for higher enrollment.
  • Another $234 million would be needed to implement outcome-based funding at community colleges, and;
  • $120 million in exceptional items would make it possible to serve more students through TEXAS Grants and physician and teacher loan repayment programs.

After an $86 million General Revenue cut to the THECB baseline, the minimum net increase needed to get public higher education back on track is $870 million.

At the Center for Public Policy Priorities, we believe in a Texas that offers everyone the chance to compete and succeed in life. We envision a Texas where everyone is healthy, well-educated, and financially secure. We want the best Texas - a proud state that sets the bar nationally by expanding opportunity for all. CPPP is an independent public policy organization that uses data and analysis to advocate for solutions that enable Texans of all backgrounds to reach their full potential. We dare Texas to be the best state for hard-working people and their families.

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