HBA-LJP C.S.H.B. 400 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.H.B. 400 By: Giddings Higher Education 4/6/2001 Committee Report (Substituted) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Individual public institutions of higher education independently distribute pertinent information to prospective students to ensure that the students and their parents understand the benefits of higher education and the necessary steps to prepare for college. However, current law does not provide for a public program to distribute such information, which may help increase the admission and enrollment of students in Texas institutions of higher education. C.S.H.B. 400 creates the Higher Education Assistance Pilot Program to provide prospective students with assistance and information on admissions and enrollment at institutions of higher education. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. ANALYSIS C.S.H.B. 400 amends the Education Code to require the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to administer and coordinate the Higher Education Assistance Pilot Program if the legislature appropriates money specifically for the program. If money is not appropriated by the legislature for that purpose, THECB is authorized to implement the program using other appropriations available for that purpose. The bill requires THECB, through the program, to provide prospective students in three regions of this state with low postsecondary enrollment rates as determined by THECB with assistance in filling out applications and with information on admissions, enrollment, and financial aid at higher education institutions. The bill requires that the information be provided at least twice each year at one or more appropriate locations in each region served by the program. The bill also authorizes THECB to coordinate with higher education institutions or other entities to provide the required information and assistance. No later than at the expiration of the program on August 31, 2003, THECB is required to submit to the legislature a report on the program's effectiveness and recommendations on whether to implement the program statewide. EFFECTIVE DATE On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act takes effect September 1, 2001. COMPARISON OF ORIGINAL TO SUBSTITUTE C.S.H.B. 400 modifies the original to change the service areas of the Higher Education Assistance Pilot Program from the cities of Dallas and Houston and the counties of Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, and Willacy to three regions of this state with low postsecondary enrollment rates as determined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.