Gov. Abbott pours nearly $100 million more into Texas higher education system

Texas

Texas Governor Greg Abbott prepares to deliver his State of the State speech at Visionary Fiber Technologies outside Lockhart, TX. Abbott is proposing expansion of telemedicine and increased broadband access for rural Texans among other policies. (Bob Daemmrich for Nexstar)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday the state will invest nearly $100 million more in federal money to support higher education.

The $94.5 million is on top of $175 million Abbott allocated for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board last year to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abbott said the additional money will help contribute to “a brighter future in Texas.”

This additional funding in higher education is an investment in job opportunities, our state’s economy,” he said. “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.”

The federal money comes from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief fund made possible by the passing of the CARES Act.

The breakdown of how the $94.6 million will be split up is:

  • $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

Harrison Keller, the Texas commissioner of higher education, said the money will help address “the significant gap between the skills and credentials many Texans possess, and the need of employers today and into the future.”

“This dilemma requires strategic solutions and Texas higher education will play a pivotal role in empowering our state’s talent pipeline,” Keller said. “We’re grateful for the leadership and support of Governor Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Patrick, Speaker Phelan, and the entire Texas Legislature.”

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