HB 86 by Branch/Ogden - Relating to tuition rebates provided by general academic teaching institutions to students who participate in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps. To participate it the state’s $1,000 graduation rebate, a student must graduate within 3 SCH’s of their degree plan. ROTC hours are not usually a part of a degree plan and these students are often ineligible for the rebate. HB 86 exempts ROTC hours from being counted when determining a degree plan in relation to the rebate.
HB 125 by Delisi/Van de Putte - Relating to tuition and fee exemptions for the children of certain military personnel. Currently, Texas veterans who attend a university are exempt from paying tuition and fees. The children of a military member who is killed while serving are also eligible to obtain the same exemption. However, the children of a military member who becomes totally disabled while serving are not eligible for the exemption.
HB 125 extends the exemption from tuition and fees to the children of members of the armed forces of the United States or of the Texas National Guard or the Texas Air National Guard who became totally disabled as a result of a service-related injury.
HB 741 by T. King/Zaffirini - Relating to an exemption from tuition and fees at public institutions of higher education for children of certain volunteer peace officers who are killed or disabled in the line of duty. Under current law, children of certain firefighters, police officers, and volunteer firefighters who have been killed or disabled in the line of duty are exempt from payment of tuition and fees at public institutions of higher education. However, volunteer peace officers are not included in this exemption.
HB 741 expands eligibility for the exemption of tuition and fees at public institutions of higher education to the dependents of volunteer law enforcement officers who have been killed or disabled in the line of duty.
HB 1187 by Morrison/Van de Putte - Relating to vouchers for tuition and required fees at certain institutions of higher education and excused absences from public school for students who sound "Taps" at a veteran's funeral. There is a lack of available musicians to perform "Taps" at military funeral services. HB 1187 provides a tuition exemption program to allow eligible students to play "Taps" at military funeral services in exchange for a tuition voucher at an institution of higher education in Texas. A voucher must be issued in the amount of $25 for each time a student sounds "Taps" as described in the legislation.
HB 2173 by B. Cook/Brimer Relating to the continuation and functions of the Prepaid Higher Education Tuition Board. Sunset bill for the Prepaid Higher Education Tuition Board until 2019. The board oversees the state’s two 529 college savings plans. The Texas Guaranteed Tuition Plan (Texas Tomorrow Fund) allows Texas families to prepay college tuition and is backed by the full faith and credit of the state. The board temporarily suspended enrollment in 2003 because of the uncertain effects of tuition deregulation. The board also oversees Tomorrow’s College Investment Plan that works much like a 401(k) but with after-tax dollars. This plan helps parents save for college, but is not guaranteed by the state.
HB 2702 by Truitt/Shapiro - Relating to tuition and fee exemptions and health benefits coverage subsidies for certain adopted children. Current law allows for children adopted out of foster care to be exempted from tuition at Texas' state colleges and universities. This tuition exemption has also been interpreted to be available to children adopted internationally. HB 2702 clarifies the terms of this tuition exemption by eliminating the allowance for a person who adopts internationally to use the exemption.
HB 3900 by Morrison/Shapiro - Relating to the Texas Tomorrow Fund II prepaid tuition unit undergraduate education program. HB 3900 creates the Texas Tomorrow Fund II as a trust fund outside of the State Treasury. The fund would receive deposits paid to purchase prepaid tuition contracts and earnings from investments. The fund's assets only could be used to pay the costs of program administration and to make payments to general academic teaching institutions and two-year institutions of higher education on behalf of beneficiaries.
This program differs from the existing Texas Tomorrow Fund by individual purchasing "units" each of which is worth one percent of one year’s tuition and required fees. Once a child enters an institution of higher education, the Texas Tomorrow Fund II pays that institution the money initially invested in the child's account or the costs as outlined in the legislation. The payout scheme and investment provisions also differ from the current fund.
SB 201 by Nelson/Morrison - Relating to tuition exemptions at public institutions of higher education for certain professional nursing program preceptors and their children. SB 201 allows nurse preceptors and their children to use tuition exemptions within two semesters of the preceptor's service.
SB 457 by Watson/Menendez - relating to the eligibility for education benefits of surviving minor children of certain public employees killed in the line of duty. Currently, Section 615.0225(a), Government Code, provides that a surviving child of a public service or law enforcement employee killed in the line of duty, such as a police officer or firefighter, is entitled to receive certain education benefits, such as tuition, housing, and food costs at an institution of higher education. However, the language applies only to a child who was claimed as a dependent on the employee's federal income tax return. Because a child can only qualify as a dependent for tax purposes for one person, this provision may inadvertently exclude a divorced or unmarried employee's child from receiving such benefits. SB 457 amends current law to authorize education benefits for a child of a public service or law enforcement employee killed in the line of duty regardless of whether the employee is the custodial or noncustodial parent.
SB 685 by Van de Putte/Escobar - Relating to an exemption from tuition and mandatory fees for certain members of the Texas National Guard. Currently the Texas National Guard Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) provides an exemption from the payment of tuition to an institution of higher education.
SB 685 exempts required fees and to tuition for members of the Texas Military Forces attending institutions of higher education for up to 12 credit hours per semester through TAP.
SB 1231 by Zaffirini/Morrison - Relating to refunding tuition and mandatory fees at institutions of higher education for dropped courses and student withdrawals. This legislation was suggested by the public university business services officers. SB 1231 relates to the amount of tuition and fees that must be refunded to students who drop a course or withdraw from an institution. Some academic institutions now offer academic terms and sessions in addition to those recognized in current law—such as ‘minimesters’. The proposed changes address refunds for different lengths of academic terms. Section 54.006(g), Education Code is repealed to conform to current law. The statute authorizing minimum tuition for general academics and health related institutions was repealed in 2001.
A floor amendment was added in the House, HB 116, stating that an institution of higher education may not permit a student to drop more than six courses, including any course a transfer student has dropped at another institution of higher education, under certain circumstances. Various exceptions and requirements, some to be promulgated by the Coordinating Board, apply.
SB 1232 by Zaffirini/Morrison - Relating to the manner of payment of higher education tuition and fees and to the repayment of emergency student loans. This legislation was suggested by the public university business services officers. SB 1232 provides flexibility in installment plans used by students to pay tuition and fees to an institution of higher education. The bill authorizes electronic agreements for emergency loans, and allows an origination fee, rather than interest, to be charged for an emergency loan. The bill also repeals a duplicative section of code.
SB 1233 by Zaffirini/Morrison - Relating to the general property deposit paid by a student to a public institution of higher education. This legislation was suggested by the public university business services officers. Current law does not authorize the application of general property deposits made by students at institutions of higher education toward balances other than those incurred in libraries or laboratories and does not provide a time frame for institutions to determine whether students might enroll for another semester of classes before any refunds are made.
SB 1233 authorizes a general deposit to be applied toward other balances and provides institutions time to identify all amounts owed by a student and to determine whether the student intends to enroll in another semester or summer session.
SB 1446 by Duncan/McCall - Relating to the removal of indirect cost recovery fees from the list of items that must be accounted for as educational and general funds by institutions of higher education. SB 1446 reconciles the definition of “educational and general funds” with the 2003 legislative changes regarding the accounting of indirect cost recovery fees. In essence this legislation deletes the requirement that these costs be accounted for as “educational and general funds.”
SB 1640 by Williams/Chism - Relating to the student loan program administered by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and to the exemption from fees and tuition of certain persons at institutions of higher education; authorizing the issuance of bonds. SB 1640 authorizes the issuance of up to $500 million in general obligation bonds to finance education loans through the Hinson-Hazlewood College Student Loan Program. There is $250 million in general obligation bonds remaining and that amount is projected to be exhausted by spring of 2009.