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Senate Committee on Higher Education - 84th R.S. (2015)

Committee Members
Kel Seliger, Chair
Royce West, Vice Chair
Paul Bettencourt
Konni Burton
Charles Perry
Leticia Van de Putte
Kirk Watson
Charges
• HB 5 Implementation, 60x30TX/Higher Education Alignment: Monitor the ongoing implementation of HB 5 (83R), and examine current projections for preparation of Texas high school students for postsecondary education and workforce training. Examine best practices and recommend strategies to align the implementation with the 60x30TX higher education plan, including, but not limited to, dual credit, credit transferability, and fields of study. (Joint Charge with Senate Education)
• Performance Funding for GAIs and Community Colleges: Study current funding methods for both general academic institutions and community colleges, examining current performance-based methods of funding for community colleges. Review funding methods used in other states and make recommendations on how to incorporate and/or change student outcome measures in institutional funding to benefit students and promote the education needs of a rapidly growing and changing workforce.
• Tuition Deregulation and Student Debt: Examine and make recommendations regarding tuition and student debt at public institutions of higher education in Texas. Specifically, study how Texas compares to peer states, variance between institutions, how accountability measures can be used to impact tuition, and increases in tuition since 2003.
• Tuition/Fee Waivers, Tuition Set-Asides, Financial Aid: Conduct a review of all tuition and fee waivers and exemptions, as well as tuition set-asides currently in law, and examine how students who do not receive the benefits of either bear these resulting costs. Study how other states treat similar populations, whether federal benefits are available, and make recommendations to ensure the efficacy of waivers and exemptions, and tuition set-asides. Examine current financial aid programs, studying their efficacy, and make recommendations on how to provide programs to meet the needs of all students in light of the recent repeal of the state's Top 10% Scholarship program and B-On-Time program.
• General Academic Institution(GAI)/Health Related Institution(HRI) Funding: Conduct a comprehensive review of funding for GAIs and HRIs, examining whether the methodology for funding the same courses is equitable and productive. Make recommendations on how to update and streamline the current funding methods, to provide a consistent methodology that focuses on student success and innovative strategies. Include in the review a focus on tuition-revenue generating special items and formula and research funding for new medical schools.
• Baccalaureate Degrees at Community Colleges: Study regional workforce needs in the state and make recommendations on whether metrics should be applied to authorize public community colleges to offer certain baccalaureate degrees in order to meet the regional workforce needs.
• Monitoring Charge: Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Higher Education and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/or complete implementation. Specifically, monitor the following: 1) Initiatives designed to create effective, clear transfer pathways for students, including the newly enacted multidisciplinary studies associate degree; 2) Implementation and progress of the Math and Science Scholars Loan Repayment Program; and 3) The progress of the pilot program enacted by the 83rd legislature relating to improving student loan default rates and financial aid literacy among postsecondary students.
• Teacher Preparation, Retention, Shortages: Study teacher shortage and retention issues in Texas and evaluate educator preparation programs to determine if these programs are preparing educators for the rigors of the 21st century classroom. In particular, examine the shortages of ELL, special education, and STEM educators across the state and identify the issues creating a shortage. Make recommendations to improve educator preparation throughout the state and increase certification rates. (Joint Charge with Senate Education)

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