Senate Committee on Higher Education - 82nd R.S. (2011)
- Study and make recommendations regarding more cost-effective funding of financial aid, including ways to restructure financial aid programs to incentivize student success, particularly among low-income students, and the efficacy of current exemptions and waivers offered to students at institutions of higher education, including in-state tuition for undocumented students. Examine student loan debt, state and federal loan forgiveness programs, and institutional default rates.
- Study and make recommendations regarding more effective means of using technology, including the effectiveness of online learning and online coursework for underprepared students. Examine the cost and funding of online education. Examine how electronic coursework and technology impacts students with disabilities, and make recommendations to ensure all students have access to electronic materials and courses. Review and make recommendations concerning statewide or inter-system cooperation for blended and online learning.
- Study developmental education programs in public higher education institutions. Include a demographic analysis of students who require developmental education, and identify alternative means of assessing the need for developmental education, the effectiveness of delivery of developmental education programs, and the role of P-16 councils in addressing solutions for better preparing students for higher education. Review alternative means of offering and financing developmental education courses and identify potential cost savings.
- Examine the existing transfer systems and the potential development of a 2+2 transfer system between public junior colleges and universities. Examine the transfer of credit between degree-granting private sector colleges, public junior colleges, and public universities. Examine the impact of national, regional, and professional accrediting associations on course credit transfer.
- Study and make recommendations regarding academic and non-academic barriers to non-traditional students, including students with disabilities. Focus on ways to restructure course and program delivery, student support services, financial barriers, and remediation and academic advising. Study and make recommendations to reduce time-to-degree, incentivize on-time graduation, and increase graduation rates to meet the goals of Closing the Gaps by 2015 and beyond.
- Study and make recommendations regarding the methods of financing capital projects at higher education institutions. Examine the levels of deferred maintenance, the impact of deferred maintenance on the ability to offer basic instructional services, and the methods used to finance deferred maintenance projects. Recommend alternatives for providing a structured and recurring funding mechanism more suited to the state’s fiscal capacity and institutional needs. (Joint Charge with Finance Committee)
- Consistent with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's legislative directive to work with the Texas State Technical College System (TSTC) and other appropriate state agencies to develop a returned value funding model for TSTC, examine the benefits and challenges such an approach will have on technical education in Texas.
Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Higher Education, 82nd Legislature, Regular and Called Sessions, and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance and/or complete implementation. Specifically, monitor the following:
- SB 5, relating to the administration and business affairs of public institutions of higher education;
- SB 28, relating to eligibility for a TEXAS grant and to administration of the TEXAS grant program;
- HB 9, relating to student success-based funding;
- HB 33, relating to measures to increase the affordability of textbooks used for courses at public or private institutions of higher education;
- SB 1107, Relating to the vaccination against bacterial meningitis of entering students at public and private or independent institutions of higher education;
- HB 1000, relating to the distribution of money appropriated from the National Research University Fund.
Senator Judith Zaffirini, Chair, 1/28/2011-10/4/2012. Senator Kel Seliger appointed Chair and Senator Zaffirini, Member, 10/4/2012 (Press release, Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, 10/4/2012).
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