House Bill 8 changes how community colleges are funded
EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - Before House Bill 8, the state funded colleges based on enrollment. Now the focus will shift to a number factors such as the number of students transferring to four-year universities, and how many credentials of value students earn, like degrees or certifications.
“We will be, I don’t want to say rewarded, but the reinvestment will occur back into the colleges,” said Trinity Valley Community College President Jason Morisson.
House bill 8 will also award colleges that provide credentials for high demand job fields.
Morrison says this is a game changer.
“I think you’re going to see two-year colleges being more attentive to those economic demands and those industry demands, there’s going to be more attention paid for how is that benefiting our economic areas,” said Morrison.
According to Degreechoices.com, community college students can pay $3,550 per year. Morrisson says House Bill 8 will ease the financial impact for some students with the help of a new program.
“It’s tremendous in opening doors to students that were not able to access dual credit, that is probably one of the most transformational benefits of the F.A.S.T program,” said Morisson.
The Financial Aid for Swift Transfer (F.A.S.T) scholarship program helps low income high school students enroll in dual credit courses at two-year colleges.
“It’s giving an opportunity for students to seek college education in career and technical type programs, transfer programs, that never had the opportunity before,” said Morrison.
Morrison says colleges shouldn’t be scared of their funding focusing on performance.
“It’s really not going to change the mindset of a two-year college, because we’ve always been smaller environments, student centered. But we’re actually going to see now the funding is going to be directed towards that,” said Morisson.
The state provided a $428,000,000 investment to help community colleges make the transition.
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