Don’t Price Students Out of an Education

President Lyndon Johnson said, “Poverty must not be a bar to learning, and learning must offer an escape from poverty.” As students at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, President Johnson’s commitment to accessible education holds particular significance for us. Without financial aid, including student loans, education would be inaccessible for many of us. Even those who work their way through school or have spouses who work could never afford school without state and federal financial assistance. We’re enrolled in one of the premier state schools in the nation, in a state that appreciates and values higher education. Clearly, Texas colleges and universities must be among the state Legislature’s highest priorities, right? Apparently not. State investment in higher education has actually decreased over the past three years, and not just funding for school operations. According to a report, “State of Student Aid and Higher Education in Texas,” the state’s major financial assistance programs have been slashed. “The funding for several of Texas’ major higher education financial aid programs was cut from the 2010-2011 biennium to the 2012-2013 biennium. Overall, the five major programs were cut 15 percent, from about $1 billion to nearly $880 million. Eight other large programs, including the Top Ten Percent Scholarship program and Developmental Education, had their funding cut between 23 percent and 94 percent.” At the same time, enrollment is rapidly increasing. State government...

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