Friday, August 3, 2007
Lt. Governor David Dewhurst has called for $154 million in funding for community colleges throughout Texas. The funding, previously vetoed by Gov. Perry, will allow for health care benefits to be provided to employees of community colleges without raising tuition and passing the cost onto students. Gov. Perry argues that it is the community college's responsibility, not the state's, to pay for benefits provided to its employees because it is the community colleges that pay for their salaries. If the community colleges are forced to cover said benefits it will require a tuition hike for students. It is my opinion that anything standing in the way of Texas' younger generation getting an education, be it financial or otherwise, should be eliminated by any means possible. Having an educated population can only help Texas. The economic benefits of having an educated population greatly outweigh, or at least offset, the cost of paying to keep tuition low for students across Texas. Gov. Perry is not looking toward the future in this case and, if he vetoes the funding once again, will be doing a great disservice to all Texans young and old.
Friday, July 27, 2007
On Tuesday, the Senate unanimously voted to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. The Higher Education Act (HEA) authorizes the major federal student aid programs that are responsible for the majority of financial assistance to postsecondary students. To encourage growth and change, it must be re-approved or "reauthorized" by Congress, generally every five years. Starting in 2008, receiving a Pell Grant can increase up to three hundred dollars per student. The maximun Pell Grant will be thirty thousand dollars and the low level of family income will be raised. College financial advisors will have to sign a code of ethics annually. This could be a great thing, especially in today's corrupt financial world. Remember when Larry Burt, a former financial advisor, was fired in May for violating a University ethics rule? Hundreds of students have been denied thousands of dollars and it is time something is done about it. Education, especially college education, is getting more and more expensive and state funding is not keeping up with the dramatic increases. Hopefully, the reauthorization will lead to more opportunities.
Friday, July 20, 2007
The Texas Senate create a new steroid testing plan. The plan was to test about three percent of high school athletes for illegal anabolic steroid use. The cost of these tests is projected to be around four million dollars per year. Governor Rick Perry said Texas should wait to launch the program until the University Interscholastic League officials review the plan and back it. There have been concerns that some over-the-counter dietary supplements could trigger positve test results. Leutinent Governor David Dewherst, however, believes that the plan should not be delayed. Because he supposedly might be running for Governor in 1010, some are speculating that the testing looks like a political winner since there has not been evidence of Texas high school students having major problems with performance enhancing drugs and Dewherst has made it a top priority. Mandating steroid testing nation wide might be delayed a year or so by UIL until the tests are proven to more accurate. About ten percent of Texas high schools already test for steroids. Steroid testing has been used for years in professional sports and the Olympics so the tests are probably not going to be dramatically improved within months. If students are truly worried about testing positive, they should avoid using supplements completely. Steroid use should be discouraged starting in high school to hopefully prevent later use.