DALLAS - The Texas Workforce Commission regulates trade schools in Texas.
Until recently, it was hard for students with a complaint against a trade school to make their problems known. In recent months that's become easier.
After a News 8 investigation of career schools, Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, is introducing a bill that would make more information about for-profit schools available on state websites.
"I heard this on television from WFAA for weeks," she said. "I was compelled by it when I heard it the first time, but when I sit [with these students] and realize that money has been taken away from them and they've gotten very little in return, it's infuriating."
Several former students of Waco trade school ATI testified Wednesday in Senate chambers. Their point: If they had been given more information, they might have chosen a different school.
"When I started, there were not enough teachers, no labs," said former student Marla Reyes. "There was no library."
Jerra Brown testified from her wheelchair. She said ATI recruiters told her she could be a medical assistant, even though her condition prevents her from administering CPR or from lifting a patient. She has never graduated and said her tuition was far more than she was originally told.
"I was almost $3,000 over the [quoted] limit," she said.
The Texas Workforce Commission testified as a resource for the Shapiro bill. After News 8's investigation of ATI, the TWC is considering requiring all trade schools to submit records electronically.
"We did ask [ATI] to provide us with all of their school's data electronically," said Larry Temple, TWC. "And as soon as we get that, we'll be able to do some quick analysis there."
Shapiro is confident the bill will be voted out of committee.