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2 Senate bills aim to give Texans free tuition

State Senator authors 2 bills that would help fund Texans' college education

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AUSTIN – Two Texas Senate bills introduced Monday aim to help Texas residents pay for higher education.

Senate Bill 33, authored by state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, will pay community college tuition for Texans who graduated from high school within 12 months of the passage of the bill.

In order to be eligible for the tuition stipend, the student must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a Texas resident.
  • Have graduated from a high school or received an equivalency certificate within the last 12 months.
  • Be enrolled in an eligible associate degree program or certificate program.
  • Be enrolled at least part-time.
  • Apply for financial aid.
  • Comply with any requirement set forth by the coordinating board.

Convicted felons and individuals who have been convicted of certain drug crimes are ineligible for the tuition stipend. Additionally, people who have received an associate degree or bachelor's degree, completed more than 90 college credit hours or received a certificate of completion for a certificate program are also ineligible.

In order to maintain eligibility, a student must make satisfactory progress in their studies. 

An individual's eligibility expires on the third anniversary of the initial disbursement of the stipend.

If the bill is passed, funds could be disbursed as early as the 2021-2022 school year.

You can read the text of the bill here.

Additionally, Zaffirini authored Senate Bill 32 which would give Texans whose annual household income is under $150,000 free tuition to universities.

If Senate Bill 32 passes, the stipend would require students to apply for financial aid and the remaining costs of tuition would be covered by the grant Zaffirini is proposing.

The eligibility requirements are similar to those in Senate Bill 33.

Like Senate Bill 33, Senate Bill 32 bars individuals who have completed a certain number of college credit hours -- outside of dual credit earned in high school -- from receiving aid. 

Under Senate Bill 32, people are eligible for the tuition stipend for a longer period of time.

Read the text of the bill here.