New Texas laws leave students to fend for themselves


Abbott cartoon

Abbott signed new legislation that cuts funding for college financial aid. | Ashley Alexander/The Cougar

In times of uncertainty, middle-class citizens in Texas looked to the hope of an education to pull them out of living paycheck to paycheck.

Beginning September 1st, newly enacted laws affected more than just Concealed Handgun License carriers and border patrols. The laws affect the education of students and middle-class young adults.

The Texas B-On-Time loan system was a program that gave students a loan that may be forgiven if the student graduated on time and had at least a B average.

These programs have assisted many middle-class students who sought alternatives to federal loans. According to The Texas Tribune, these taxpayer funds helped provide higher education to more than 26,000 students in 2013.

These programs have been revoked.

Middle class families, who have more than one child and rely on household incomes around $60,000 will have virtually no options in government assistance to send their child to college.

“We do a great job of taking care of poor kids,” said Raymund Paredes, commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, “but I think we need to take a look at middle class families.”

Texas, why forsake your future generations and leave them to fight for an open position at McDonald’s when you could foster the hope that comes with college education?

When seeking future career opportunities, a bachelor’s degree seems to be a common requirement. On the lower end of the income spectrum, Texas has pumped millions more into programs like TEXAS grants and The Texas Educational Opportunity Act. These programs are only for individuals whose families are deemed to have a low-income.

Middle class student status can feel like a vague term considering the higher tuition rates, the ridiculous student fees and everyone’s favorite fee: parking. Texas has yet to consolidate the expenses that are allocated for middle class families and their ability to provide their children with higher education.

The status of a family’s income should no longer be the determinant in deciding whether or not the student should receive a scholarship. It should be based upon the capability of the student, and his or her concern for the future.

The government deeming a family as economically middle class is irrelevant when that family has multiple children, a mortgage and debt. The only solution to the future poverty line is the opportunity to give all Texans a chance for college aid, not pay particular attention to just one part of the public.

Opinion columnist Phylicia Sneed is an English senior and may be reached at [email protected].

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