The Senate Committee on Higher Education met Monday to hear invited testimony about non-traditional adult learners, data transparency between high schools and institutions of higher education, and the facilitation of transfers and timely graduation of students in higher education. Sen. Royce West inquired about funds recently received by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund to support the TEXAS Grant, Texas Educational Opportunity Grant, and Tuition Equalization Grant programs. Commissioner of Higher Education Harrison Keller explained that non-traditional students encountered barriers and need wrap-around services, noting that some funds went to tuition and instructional materials while others went to providing wraparound services.
Commissioner Keller said the three categories for the funds were to maintain current need-based tuition assistance programs, emergency aid for students whose family circumstances changed in the pandemic, and for tuition and fees for students participating in upscaling and re-skilling programs which could include funds for wraparound services. We are glad to see the recognition that wraparound services are a critical component of student success in higher education, as well as K-12 as we have seen through the success of Community Schools initiatives.