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by: Rep.

With the holidays quickly approaching, I wanted to let you know about a great gift idea -- the Texas Tuition Promise Fund.

Texas believes in the importance of education, an educated workforce is the only way to keep our state the best place to live, work, and do business. Despite a stagnant economy, college tuition continues to rise, leaving many students and parents in the difficult position of having to choose between incurring massive debt or foregoing a college education.

The Texas Legislature believes Texas families should not have to make that choice. That's why we created the Texas Tuition Promise Fund -- a program that allows parents to purchase prepaid "units" that can be used toward future undergraduate tuition and fees at Texas public colleges and universities at today's prices. Here's how it works:

• Type I units, priced for tuition and required fees for the most expensive public four-year school in Texas, currently cost $111.68 per unit.
• Type II units, based on the weighted average cost of tuition and required fees across all Texas public four-year schools, currently cost $79.70 per unit.
• Type III units, priced at the weighted average cost of tuition and required fees across all Texas public two-year schools, currently cost $20.54 each.

Under the plan, 100 units fund one academic year consisting of 30 semester hours. Families can prepay for up to six years of undergraduate tuition and required fees. There are many payment options available and start as low $15 per month. You can choose to pay by lump sum payments, installments at eight percent interest or pay-as-you-go plans, creating a flexible and affordable plan to accommodate Texas families.

I encourage you to take advantage of this excellent program and consider it as a holiday gift for your loved ones. By doing so, you will provide them with the opportunity to achieve their educational goals -- whether it is a four-year institution or a community college, and gain the necessary skills for a well-paying job in their chosen field.

For more information about the Texas Tuition Promise Fund, including a college cost calculator, visit or call (800) 445-GRAD.

Representative Workman represents House District 47 in the Texas Legislature.

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