College Tuition

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When Gov. Greg Abbott signed HB 3 into law earlier this summer, in addition to increasing school funding and approving teacher raises, he also approved a requirement for all Texas high school seniors to fill out an application for federal or state financial aid for college.

Julia Reihs/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Texas will soon become the second state to require high school seniors to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Louisiana was the first state to do so.

The new requirement will go into effect in the 2020-2021 school year, with the goal of getting Texans more money for college. 

Andrew Kreighbaum is a federal policy reporter for Inside Higher Ed. He says when college-bound students don’t fill out a FAFSA, they potentially lose out on money available to them. 

UT Austin tower
Martin do Nascimento / KUT

The University of Texas System Board of Regents voted Tuesday to offer full tuition assistance to more UT Austin students, adding $160 million to an endowment to help cover costs.

Martin do Nascimento/KUT

From Texas Standard:

College has become a prerequisite for most high-paying jobs in the U.S., but college itself is out of reach for millions, and that number is growing. And the Federal Reserve Bank of New York says that in the past 10 years, student loan debt has grown by more than 100 percent. People ages 19 to 29 hold more than $1 trillion in student debt, and that's just the Millennial generation. With a wide-open Democratic primary field, it's almost certain that college affordability will be an issue during the 2020 presidential campaign.

Adam Harris writes in The Atlantic that the current crop of Democratic presidential candidates have focused their attention on how to make college affordable in the future,  proposing free college tuition or policies that would allow students to leave school without debt.

Harris says that prior to the 2016 election, momentum had been building nationally for some sort of free college program. But once Donald Trump was elected president, that momentum shifted to the states.

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From Texas Standard:

It's college application season, and for many colleges the due date is next month. That means now is the time for writing essays, rounding up letters of recommendation and – lest we forget – figuring out how you're going to pay for a college education.


KUT News

There could be test votes this week in the U.S. Senate in the latest showdown over student loan rates. Interest rates on federally-backed student loans are set to double on July 1.

It’s the same situation as a year ago when the scheduled rate increase was delayed for a year.

Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

The nine academic campuses in the University of Texas System will soon offer four-year guaranteed tuition plans as an option to their students.

At a Thursday meeting, the system's board of regents approved a measure requiring campuses to have the option in place.

Daniel Reese for KUT News

Education Commissioner Michael L. Williams and the Texas Education Agency announced this week  that the number of students taking Advanced Placement (AP) exams rose by four percent in the 2011-2012 school year.

The Advanced Placement Program allows high school students to take college-level courses and ultimately exams that they can earn college credit for. The tests are scored on a scale of 1 to 5 . A score of 3 or higher is considered satisfactory. Last year, 194,391 Texas students took 350,700 AP exams.

The College Board, which created and oversees the AP program, estimates that if all of the students who scored a 5 on the exams last year enrolled in one of the state’s two flagship universities and received course credit, they would collectively save between $36.2 million and $42.9 million in tuition costs.

This news comes at a time when climbing college tuition rates are a major talking point in Texas, and on the cusp of a legislative session that will likely address these issues.