Governor Greg Abbott today announced the State of Texas will invest an additional $94.6 million in federal funds to support higher education. Last year, the Governor allocated $175 million to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to support Texas higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This additional funding in higher education is an investment in job opportunities, our state’s economy, and a brighter future for Texas,” said Governor Abbott. “As we move forward from the pandemic, it is critical that we continue to support higher education to ensure more Texans are trained to face dynamic and unique challenges that will set them apart from others, and make them more competitive, in their field.”
“Higher education is more important than ever to better train and prepare Texans to enter our state’s dynamic post-Covid economy. This funding will help ensure our higher ed institutions are able to equip our students quickly to take their place in the Texas workforce and ensure our global economy continues to prosper,” said Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.
“Investing in our higher education system is the single best way to bolster the workforce that Texas has become known for and accelerate our state’s economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19,” said Speaker Dade Phelan. “We know the value that a post-secondary degree, certificate, or credential can provide in one’s life, and we want that opportunity to be as widely available as possible. This strategic investment will go very far to help return our economy to its former heights and get Texas students the education they need to succeed.”
“Higher education is a crucial component of our economic recovery,” Senator Jane Nelson said. “These funds will help students achieve their academic goals and gain access to the opportunities they need to be career-ready.”
“The additional funding provided by the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief fund provides a pathway for students to acquire the necessary skill sets to pursue meaningful and productive careers and helps ensure that the Texas economy will continue to be a global leader,” said Chairman Greg Bonnen.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, federal relief funding has been instrumental in helping Texas get back on its feet. I applaud Governor Abbott for directing additional funds to programs that will help Texans get the skills they need to re-enter the workforce after this devastating public health crisis. Texas has, and will continue to have, one of the strongest economies in the world, and it is due in part to the types of educational programs this funding will support. As Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, I look forward to working with the Governor, Lieutenant Governor Patrick, and Chairwoman Nelson to further addressing the needs of Texans through the allocation of COVID relief funding,” said Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr.
“This funding is crucial to Texas students’ future,” said Rep Mary E Gonzalez, PhD. “As we continue our recovery from COVID 19, it is vital that we provide strategic investments that will support student access to higher education, but also meet the needs for a diverse and growing state like Texas.”
The federal funds come from Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) dollars that were made available through passage of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
This next round of funding will continue to provide meaningful support to ensure Texas students have the skills they need for tomorrow’s jobs, while bridging access for adults, transfer, and low-income students, and increasing capacity for high-value programs and credentials. This includes:
• $48.1 million to rapidly expand capacity for high-demand and high-value educational opportunities, including $5 million for work-based learning and apprenticeships.
• $28.5 million to accelerate enrollments, support high-potential students, and provide financial aid for critical student populations.
• $10 million to establish the My Texas Future program to provide curated one-stop advising resources to help traditional Texas students and adult learners to connect with higher education opportunities across the state.
• $4 million to expand outreach and engagement of adult learners to meet workforce demands of the state and its employers.
• $4 million to bolster Tri-Agency data information security and accessibility.
“As we transition from pandemic response to economic recovery, a key dilemma our state faces is the significant gap between the skills and credentials many Texans possess, and the needs of employers today and into the future,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Harrison Keller. “This dilemma requires strategic solutions and Texas higher education will play a pivotal role in empowering our state’s talent pipeline. We’re grateful for the leadership and support of Governor Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Patrick, Speaker Phelan, and the entire Texas Legislature.”
The Governor’s investment in higher education will help ensure more Texans are qualified for available jobs while providing the necessary aid and supports for critical student populations. This strategic backing of Texas’ students and its workforce will continue to accelerate the state’s economic recovery, improving the lives of Texans.