We must not neglect higher education for our state to remain competitive. Texas has world-class universities and colleges that draw students from across our state and beyond. However, for many Texans that education is economically out of reach. This is especially true for low-income students many of whom are African-American or Latino.
Current tuitions usually require students who do not qualify for scholarships to get loans for their higher education. As most Texans know, those loans can become a big burden once they graduate and often lead to students paying many times the amount they borrowed in interest and fees.
As an alternative, I propose using a program similar to the one implemented at Purdue
University in Indiana. It is an Income Sharing Agreement (ISA) where students agree to pay a percentage of their income for 10 years after graduating. The agreement is over at that point leaving the graduate free of further obligations. If the graduate is earning under $20,000 a year there is no shared fee. The results are promising, and it is something I would encourage exploring for Texas institutions.
Beyond finding alternative funding for higher education, I endorse the 60X30TX Plan proposed by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Its overarching goal is that by the year 2030, at least 60 percent of Texans ages 25-34 will have a certificate or degree. We must align higher education in Texas with the workforce in addition to teaching students in ways that allow for flexibility in career choices. www.60x30tx.com
We must make higher education a priority in our state to remain competitive in today’s marketplace and to secure a bright future for Texas.