Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Latest News

January 26, 2013

College aid faces uphill battle


Students can use Texas Grants to attend any public college or university in the state. The maximum award possible is $7,400 per academic year to cover a student’s total school costs, which can include transportation and clothing, as well as academic cost.

The coordinating board is already encouraging schools to limit grants to academic costs such as tuition and course materials. Writing that approach into law would drop the average award from $5,000 to $3,000. The board also wants to cap awards at eight semesters.

Even without more money, those changes could help thousands more students get some share of Texas Grants, the board says.

Critics warn the proposed changes could hurt students who attend colleges in cities where the cost of living is higher, such as Austin, Houston and Dallas.

Sen. Rodney Ellis, a Houston Democrat who passed the original Texas Grants bill 14 years ago, opposes reducing the award cap, even if it helps get money to more students. The program needs more money, Ellis said.

“It’s not like reducing the amount of the grant does anything to reduce the actual cost of school. Someone would have to make up the difference, either the schools or the student,” Ellis said.

Capping the grant to eight semesters could hurt some students who work and may need more time to graduate, Ellis said.

Zaffirini said lawmakers have been reluctant in the past to make big changes to a program that has been a successful pathway to college for poor and lower-middle income students.

In 2011, lawmakers changed Texas Grants from a first-come, first-served basis to one that gave priority to top academic performers who qualified financially. That change, which will begin with the 2013 fall semester, came after trends showed that about half of Texas Grants students don’t graduate within six years.

“Every time someone recommends a change, it’s very controversial,” Zaffirini said, noting she opposed the priority grants model for years until sponsoring it herself in 2011

“We had to be realistic,” Zaffirini said. “We prioritized to help the students who were most qualified to excel.”


Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email:

Text Only
Latest News
  • 7-30-14 4-H robotics.jpg Science made simple

    Hats out of old newspaper and leftover wrapping paper, simple robots out of popsicle sticks, rubber bands and pencil erasers, a microcosm of the aquifer made of root beer and ice cream — with a dollop of chocolate syrup. These were among the fun science projects at Tuesday’s 4-H Discovery Days event at the Navarro County Youth Expo.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • County: No increase in city subsidies

    As budget talks continue at the Navarro County Courthouse, one consensus that’s been reached will impact budget planning at the Corsicana Government Center.

    July 29, 2014

  • 7-30-14 AthensFire.jpg Senate report finds fault with government inspection of chemical facilities

    WASHINGTON — The government has failed to inspect virtually all of the chemical facilities that it considers to be at a higher risk for a terror attack and has underestimated the threat to densely populated cities, congressional investigators say.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-30-14 Club-Rotary gov.jpg Club News

    News and announcements submitted by clubs and organizations throughout Navarro County.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Beat 7/30/14

    A listing of meetings and events of interest from throughout Navarro County.

    July 29, 2014

  • Jury awards Ventura $1.8M in defamation case

    ST. PAUL, Minn. — A jury has awarded former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura $1.8 million in his lawsuit against the estate of "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle.

    July 29, 2014

  • Texas school trustee penalized in cheerleader case

    SAN MARCOS — A Central Texas school board has ordered a trustee to attended professional conduct training after parents and teachers said he used his position to get his daughter onto a cheerleading team.

    July 29, 2014

  • Study: 35 percent in US facing debt collectors

    WASHINGTON — More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute.

    July 29, 2014

  • 7-29-14 Lassiter.jpg Lassiter named new Calico director

    Brittany Watkins-Lassiter has been named the new Calico Director for Corsicana High School. Lassiter replaces Amy Tidwell, who resigned to become the dance squad coach at Sachse High School.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-29-14 McManus.jpg County OKs mall lease

    The question of where many county courthouse offices would move during the three-year historical restoration of the Navarro County Courthouse was officially answered Monday.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo