The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education has released its latest report card for state colleges and universities and it does not paint a good picture for those schools, including ones here in Texas.

Schools were graded on its progress and performance in five key areas, including preparation, participation, affordability, completion, and benefits.

One black eye for the state and the nation is the alarming rise in tuition and the amount of money people have to pay out-of-pocket, even with financial aid, to attend school.

The highest grade Texas received was a “B” in preparation for college. The report found the state performed “fairly well” and has improved in preparing high school students for college. The state’s second highest grade was a “C+” in benefits due to the fact the number of people getting a Bachelor’s degree has increased steadily since 1990. The state still falls behind the national and top five performing states.

All states received an “F,” on the report except for California, which received a “C,” but even in that state, school is becoming less affordable.

The report found in Texas poor and working-class families have to devote 30 percent of their income to pay for two-year colleges, like TJC. It also said Texas received the grade because is a low amount of financial aid to those with a low-income. It stated, “For every dollar in Pell Grand aid to students, the state spends only 32 cents.”

Our board of trustees needs to be thanked for their decisions this year. When faced with a tight budget and the economic crisis, they went with a tuition increase of only a few dollars per hour.

However, students face a big problem when they move from TJC to another school or a four-year school where the tuition can increase five times.

State lawmakers need to take a close look at this report and see that students are suffering and less aid is being offered to those who really need it. During their January session state legislators need to come together and bail out the future generation instead of bailing out companies that dug their own graves.

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