Texas higher education set to receive $94.6 million boost in federal relief funds

By Brianna Kraemer

Higher education institutions in Texas are set to receive a $94.6 million boost in federal funds.

Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday he's allocating the federal relief funds to invest in the future of students and assure Texans are trained for specific fields to ensure they are prepared for the workforce while the economy gradually recovers.

“This additional funding in higher education is an investment in job opportunities, our state’s economy, and a brighter future for Texas,” Abbott said in a press release. “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 Monday announcement comes as many states continue to invest money received from federal government programs like the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the American Rescue Plan Act. Previously, the state allocated $175 million to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) during the pandemic.

Over half of the funds will go towards rapidly expanding capacity for high-demand and high-value educational opportunities. The support will also include money designated for work-based learning and apprenticeships. 

The other half of the funds will be allotted to accelerating enrollments, providing financial aid for critical student populations and investing in advising resources, according to the governor's office. 

Both two and four-year public and private Texas institutions reported a total of 1.49 million enrollees in the fall 2020, and a THECB report projects higher education to continue growth in a positive direction for the next 15 years.

By 2035, nearly 1.8 million students are projected to be enrolled in Texas colleges, making the current investment impactful for the future, according to THECB. 

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