Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Lowering Expectations

Senate Bill 1227, an expansive financial aid bill, sets uniform standards for students receiving financial aid under state grant programs. Currently, the TEXAS Grants program, which primarily provides assistance for low-income, minority and first generation students, is subject to a 2.5 GPA requirement. Another grant program called Texas Equalization Grants, which provides financial aid to cover the additional costs incurred by students who choose to go to private schools over public schools, is not subject to the same GPA requirements. The Senate voted in SB 1227 to change that by raising the requirements for the Texas Equalization Grants to match those of TEXAS Grants.

But, the House chose a different route when they heard SB 1227 on the floor tonight. Instead of raising the bar, the House voted in an overwhelming majority to lower the standards of TEXAS Grants to meet those of the private school grant program.

Rep. Sylvester Turner explained that raising the requiremtns for TEG students would kick off a good number of students who have GPAs lower than 2.5. The bill passed with his amendment, lowering the new GPA requirement for TEXAS Grants to 2.0.