(The Center Square) – The state of Texas is allocating an additional $118 million in federal funding to support higher education in Texas, including $93 million to help students continue or restart their progress toward earning a post-secondary credential or degree.
This is in addition to $57 million already allocated to initially offset potential cuts to state financial aid programs. Total aid to Texas higher educational institutions so far is $175 million through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law by President Donald Trump.
These federal funds “will provide targeted assistance to keep students enrolled or help them re-enroll in higher education so they can pursue new professional and economic opportunities for themselves and their families,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement.
The funding is allocated according to specific financial aid areas.
Approximately $46.5 million will fund financial aid for upskilling and reskilling displaced workers in high-demand fields, including workers who have earned some college credit but no credential, allowing new paths into the workforce with higher earning potential.
About $46.5 million will fund emergency student support for students of families severely financially impacted by COVID-19 to stay enrolled in higher education.
Roughly $15 million will fund strategic education and workforce data infrastructure to provide timely, actionable intelligence to students, institutions, employers and policymakers; scale and expand existing technologies and tools that support college and career advising; and help students stay on track to earn high-value credentials.
Another $10 million will fund efforts to improve the quality of online learning by strengthening distance education course offerings and institutions’ capabilities to use data to support student success.
“These strategic investments in our students and institutions will keep more students on track to enter the workforce with the credentials and education that tomorrow’s economy will demand,” Commissioner of Texas Higher Education Harrison Keller said.
“We cannot allow COVID-19 to disrupt higher education and slow down the growth of a skilled work force, which this economy needs to get back on track,” State Sen. Jane Nelson said. “By providing financial support and investing in a virtual infrastructure, we are helping students overcome the challenges caused by this pandemic and achieve their goals.”