Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2766
By: Delisi
Higher Education


The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) oversees several
different student loan repayment assistance programs.  However, prior to
the 77th Legislature, THECB, with very few exceptions, did not provide
repayment assistance to attorneys who chose to work for the office of the
attorney general (OAG).  A law student will often incur high education loan
debt, and as a result might feel compelled to accept higher paying private
sector employment to pay off his or her debt, rather than working for OAG.
In addition, there was concern that the  turnover rate was high for
attorneys who initially work for OAG.  House Bill 2766 authorizes THECB to
provide assistance in the repayment of education loans for attorneys who
work for OAG. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly delegated to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating
Board in SECTION 1 (Section 61.959, Education Code) and SECTION 2 of this


House Bill 2766 amends the Education Code to authorize the Texas Higher
Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to provide assistance in the repayment
of education loans for certain state attorneys who apply and qualify for
assistance.   To be eligible to receive repayment assistance, an attorney
must apply to THECB, be employed by or have been offered employment with
the office of the attorney general (OAG) at the time the attorney applies
for the assistance, and enter into an agreement to serve as an attorney for
at least three years with OAG.  The bill sets forth the terms of the
agreement.  The bill authorizes an attorney who enters into such an
agreement to receive repayment assistance in an amount not to exceed $6,000
per year.  The bill prohibits an attorney from receiving repayment
assistance  for more than three years.  The bill authorizes THECB to
provide repayment assistance for any education loan received by an attorney
through any lender, other than a private individual,  for  education at an
authorized school of law or for undergraduate education at a public or an
accredited private or independent institution of higher education.  The
bill prohibits THECB from providing repayment assistance for an education
loan that is in default at the time of the attorney's application.  The
bill requires THECB, each state fiscal biennium, to attempt to allocate all
funds appropriated for the purpose of providing repayment assistance.   The
bill sets forth provisions regarding repayment of loans by THECB.  

 The bill authorizes THECB to appoint an advisory committee to assist THECB
in performing its duties and to request the assistance of the State Bar of
Texas and OAG in performing those duties.  The bill requires THECB to adopt
rules, not later than December 1, 2001, necessary for the administration of
repayment assistance and to distribute a copy of the adopted rules and
other pertinent information to each authorized school of law, any
appropriate state agencies, and any appropriate professional associations.
The bill prohibits the total amount of repayment assistance from exceeding
the total amount of funds available to THECB for repayment assistance.   

The bill requires the governing board of each authorized public school of
law in this state to set aside one  percent of tuition charges for resident
students enrolled in the school of law.  The bill requires the amount set
aside to be transferred to the comptroller of public accounts to be
maintained in the state treasury for the sole purpose of repayment
assistance of education loans of certain state attorneys.  Provisions
relating to the use of dedicated revenue do not apply to the amount set
aside for the repayment assistance.  The bill provides that the repayment
assistance program may be funded only from gifts, grants, and donations
accepted by THECB and from the law school tuition set aside. 

The bill requires THECB to submit a report, not later than December 1,
2004, to the legislature regarding assistance in the repayment of education
loans for certain state attorneys. 


September 1, 2001.