College Finance Law Makes Significant Investment in Economic Opportunity in Texas
Governor Abbott signs House Bill 8 into law after steady advocacy from community college students and graduates
On Friday, June 9, Governor Abbott signed House Bill 8 into law. This landmark community college finance legislation will support Texans seeking affordable pathways to educational and economic opportunity.
We applaud the bipartisan legislation to enhance access to community colleges and support success for all Texans seeking new pathways into the workforce and higher-level degree programs. It was the students who advocated all year for this legislation who pushed this bill over the finish line, and we’re extremely grateful for their leadership.
House Bill 8, authored by Texas State Representative Gary VanDeaver (R-New Boston) and Texas State Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), invests nearly $700 million in affordability and student success for community colleges across Texas, especially those serving under-resourced communities in both rural and urban parts of the state. We thank them for their leadership.
The new law stems from the recommendations of the Texas Commission on Community College Finance, which was established by the previous legislature and met during the interim period. As Texas faces a growing skilled workforce shortage, this new law presents Texans with more opportunities to earn credentials in high-demand, high-wage fields, while maintaining pathways to four-year and graduate degrees.
Texas Postsecondary Advocates Coalition for Equity (TX PACE), led by partners at The Education Trust, Young Invincibles, Breakthrough Central Texas and Every Texan, worked for more than a year with members of the Texas Community College Student Advisory Council to advocate a collective message of support for this transformational investment in Texas’s future.
We look forward to working with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board as stakeholders during the interim to ensure efficient, effective, and equitable implementation.
“By strengthening the funding structure of community colleges, the state is taking a pivotal step forward in assuring that all Texans, regardless of their race or socioeconomic background, have access to affordable and local educational programs, certifications, and degrees they need to increase their social and economic well-being,” said Kimberly Clarida, higher education policy analyst at Every Texan.
“Making higher education affordable and accessible will provide crucial opportunities for my peers and the next generation to advance not only their careers but their lives and the livelihood of their families,” said Elias Ramirez, a student at College of the Mainland and member of the Student Advisory Council.
About Every Texan
Every Texan believes that social justice requires public policy. Since its founding in 1985, Every Texan (formerly the Center for Public Policy Priorities) has leveraged public policy to expand opportunity and equity for Texans of all backgrounds. Every Texan is an independent nonprofit organization that researches, analyzes, and advocates for public policies to achieve equitable access to quality health care, food security, education, and good jobs. Our bold, research-driven legislative priorities dare Texas leaders to make Texas the best state for hard-working people and their families. Learn more at everytexan.org.
About Texas Community College Student Advisory Council
The Student Advisory Council is organized and supported by Young Invincibles, The Education Trust in Texas, Every Texan, and Breakthrough Central Texas as a joint initiative of the Texas Postsecondary Advocates Coalition for Equity (TX PACE). The student members of the Council include first-generation college students, armed forces veterans, student government leaders, and Texans of diverse races, ethnicities, ages, and backgrounds. As part of a paid fellowship, student members will be actively engaged in the work of the Texas Commission on Community College Finance and subsequent legislative activity. Learn more at txpace.org.