Thursday, September 22, 2011

Vote to Protect Loan Programs for Our Students

Presidents from the many Texas independent universities met in Fort Worth this week. Honestly, we heard gloomy reports on the economy and the State of Texas budget. Still yet, it was encouraging to be with such a bright and dedicated group focused on keeping the dream of a college education accessible to all.

For 40 years, Texas students have been fortunate to have the option of affordable fixed-rate student loans. It is one important tool to families building a plan to pay for tuition. This program, known as the Hinson-Hazelwood Student Loan Program, will provide nearly $69 million in loans to Texans this year. LeTourneau students will receive $463,000 of this assistance. With a 5.25 fixed interest rate, these loans are a good deal for families.

Did you know that this coming November 8 is an election day? I didn't. On the ballot that day will be Proposition 3. Prop 3 will authorize the issuance of general obligation bonds to generate funding for the Hinson-Hazelwood loan program. The loan program is completely self-supporting and this proposition will cost taxpayers nothing. The debt is not paid with any state resources but by the student borrowers.

Few voters turn out for these off-year elections. There is always fear that a small number of misinformed voters will derail a program that is good for students and for Texas. Will you make a note on your calendar to vote on November 8? We understand better than most the struggle of challenge of our students and that's why we need to lead the way in voting.

At a time when federal and state grants for college are declining, let's protect this loan program for our students! Thanks for your consideration.