No money for new applicants of the popular TEXAS Grant

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on January 21, 2011 at 7:00 PM

Updated Saturday, Jan 22 at 11:46 AM

ARLINGTON - More bleak news out of Austin regarding the proposed 2012-13 state budget introduced in the Texas House of Representatives this week.

Under the bill, there is no money for new applicants of the TEXAS Grant program, one of the most popular and sought after college scholarships.

At the University of Texas at Arlington, about one-fifth of the grant money awarded to students, $11 million, comes from the TEXAS Grant. It covers tuition and fees, nearly $7,000 a year that students like Allan Cobham don't need to pay back.

“If I didn't have it, I would have to get even more loans, which is going to be more on the back end that I have to pay off," he said.

But, under the proposed House budget, existing students will see their money reduced to the minimum so they can at least receive something, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. And, there is no money for new applicants.

It's the kind of cuts Republicans warned of in higher education.

“The answer is no,  we are going to have to take some cuts to the education side, public education and higher education and health and human services," said Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, who chaired the House Higher Education Committee last session. "It's over 70 percent of the budget.”

Figures from the state show about 51,000 students would get Texas GRANT money in the proposed two-year budget compared to 111,000 in the current budget.

Existing Texas GRANT students, like Alexz Siprian, are left wondering how much they'll receive going forward.

“I wouldn't even be able to go to school if I didn't have it," she said.

San Antonio Democratic Representative Mike Villarreal leads the fight against the cuts calling no money for new Texas GRANT applicants “unacceptable.”

As lawmakers reach for some kind of budget solution college becomes more out of reach for students.

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