In 2019, the Texas 86th legislature moved forward with bills that drastically affect the lives of college students throughout the state. These bills are intended to increase graduation rates and benefits of attending a public university in the state.
In the first week of April, the House agreed to move forward with the decision to create two new medical schools in the state. The plan is to increase the number of residency opportunities provided to medical students in the state as an incentive to remain a practising physician in Texas. Lawmakers cite the lack of access to medical care in the rural areas of Texas as reasoning for backing this bill. This proposal has passed in its second reading of the House and is expected to pass in the third. Though it still needs approval from the Senate, the need overwhelming need for healthcare providers for rural Texans almost guarantees a passing.
The House listened to the proposal of HB89 in February of 2019. This bill proposes the maximum tuition that a public institution can charge cannot surpass the tuition charged for the same degree to a student in equal social standing in the fall of 2015. Rising tuition prices are a phenomenon that today’s students must handle, but the Representatives in charge of this bill are attempting to relieve some of the pressure that comes with that. This bill puts a limitation on tuition but also aims to increase, or at least maintain graduation rates, quality of the degree, accessibility to more people and participation rates. It also states that when enacted, students who had already paid more than this amount would receive a refund.
Homeless and fostered youth make up another portion of minority students on college campuses, though their peers and administration alike ignore their experiences. There is currently a triad of bills in both the House and Senate of the Texas legislature that aim to reduce the burden that these students face. These bills intend to provide a liaison/mentor for these students that would work with these students to reach their educational goals with more information and access to resources on campus. These bills are scheduled to be enacted from September 2019 onward.