House Representative

Howard, Donna


Rep. Donna Howard Ends Unnecessary Tuition Set-Asides for Medical and Law Students

AUSTIN - As Texas university students enter the fall semester, they can do so knowing that their tuition dollars will stay a little closer to home this year. Rep. Donna Howard’s House Bill 2396 has ended two particular tuition set-asides which had been collected from all medical and law students at the state’s public universities. The bill, passed with overwhelming support from lawmakers in 2015, went into effect in September of that year. Rep. Howard released the following statement:

“With the passage of HB 2396, the Texas Legislature took an important step toward greater tuition transparency and efficiency. As a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee dealing with education funding, I was able to identify two unnecessary diversions of university tuition.

“For years now, medical students in Texas have had two percent of their tuition charges set aside and placed in the account for the Physician Education Loan Repayment Program. While the program itself is a worthy endeavor, the account­—funded primarily with revenue from the tobacco products tax—had been taking in much more money than it was disbursing. HB 2396 better ensures that those med school set-asides will be used to help current students, rather than sitting unused in a state account.

“Similarly, resident law students were seeing one percent of their tuition garnished by the Office of the Attorney General for recruitment purposes. HB 2396 sets up a more appropriate framework for OAG incentives, funding them through appropriations to the agency rather than at the expense of our public university students.

“Tuition set-asides play an important role in the affordability of higher education in our state. Moving forward, we must continue to winnow out the superfluous set-asides from the effective ones, to better ensure the availability of essential need-based financial assistance.”