Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Higher education without the Tuition Equalization Grant

The Tuition Equalization Grant (TEG) provides financial aide to students who are interested in attending private universities and therefore preserves the expansion of public institutions. Although college administrators prepare themselves for budget cuts every two years, the TEG could be cut by 41 percent, presenting major consequences. Fewer students will be able to attend private universities. As a result, public universities would not be equipped to hold the number of students coming in from private colleges.

A writer for the Austin Business Journal wrote an editorial defending the cut of the TEG, saying that it “plays a vital role in educating some of our best students – and saving the state money.”

Martha Marquez, a recipient of the TEG who attends Abilene Christian University, was featured in an article about the TEG budget cuts. She said her decision to attend a private university was based on the amount of aide she received, much of it being from the TEG.

If the cuts remain as extreme they currently are, approximately 9,500 fewer students will be receiving the TEG. Abilene Christian University’s director of student financial service, Ed Kerestly, said, "Most likely, we would be in a position to pass that cost onto students. They would need to look at loans or additional working or whatever to pay the difference, and that's certainly not what we'd like to see happen."

Students might not feel comfortable taking out additional loans. Expecting the students to work more during their college years would take away from their educational experience. The legislature will have to consider every aspect or consequence of the budget cuts for institutions of higher education this session.

-Carissa Cotner

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