Gov. Perry Calls for Higher Education Reforms
Plan calls for more incentive funding, 60 percent increase in financial aide and more accountability
Gov. Rick Perry today proposed an ambitious higher education reform plan, directing responsible investment in the academic rigor and future success of Texas' students and universities.
"Today I am proposing major reforms to higher education that will reward colleges and universities for every student that earns a degree, lead to more degrees awarded in critical fields like computer science and nursing and increase financial aid by $360 million," Perry said. "If lawmakers adopt this plan, the ultimate result will be a higher education system that is more affordable, more accountable and more focused on meeting the needs of tomorrow's global marketplace."
The comprehensive higher education reform plan includes measures to:
* Increase higher education funding by $711 million in general revenue ($1.7 billion all funds).
* Increase financial aid by 60 percent, or $362 million.
* Fully fund the higher education operations formula.
* Substantially change the funding mechanism by eliminating "special items," or earmarks, so funding increasingly follows students instead of schools.
"While our two largest university systems have been ranked among the best values in the country, we must do more to improve access to a college education for students of all income levels," Perry said. "If students have proven themselves in high school and need financial assistance to better their future, Texas should pay their tuition and fees."
Budgetary allocations will provide for an incentive program for well-performing universities and colleges, an increase in need-based and performance-driven financial aid, and the creation of alternative programs to address nursing shortages statewide.
The governor also repeated his call for transparency in budgetary expenditures today, recommending the Legislature eliminate vague lump sum appropriations to higher education institutions.