10 Principles for Texas
in the 21st Century
- Develop a better-educated workforce
- Direct more of every education dollar into the classroom
- Raise the bar on student performance
- Cut taxes in Texas
- Introduce competition into Texas government
- Improve government performance and accountability
- Reduce the size of government
- Bring common sense to regulations
- Use technology to cut costs and increase quality
- Return control to communities and individuals
As chairman of the Texas Prepaid Higher Education Tuition Board, I appreciate the vital support the hardworking people of Texas have shown for the Texas Guaranteed Tuition Plan—one of the Texas Tomorrow Funds and the state’s prepaid college tuition program. During my tenure as Texas Comptroller, nearly 78,000 Texas families have bought prepaid tuition contracts for their children and grandchildren. Since the program's inception in 1996, Texans have bought more than 140,000 contracts. The plan gives every family a way to guarantee that their children will have the opportunity to realize the dream of a college education.
My e-Texas report to the 2003 Legislature recommended that lawmakers amend state law to allow the governing boards of public institutions of higher education to set and vary tuition rates as needed to manage each institution most effectively. I believe that giving Texas universities greater budgetary flexibility in setting local tuition rates will allow our great institutions to compete more effectively for talented students and research and development funding.
At the same time, I fully intend to protect the benefits of plan participants as well as the state’s constitutional guarantee that stands behind the program. To this end, the Legislature recently authorized the board, on my recommendation, to temporarily suspend new enrollment in the program, as needed, to ensure the actuarial soundness of the plan. But you can still enroll newborns until August 31, 2003.
I believe temporarily suspending new enrollment is timely and prudent. The board and I will revisit this decision each year to determine if tuition and required fee rates, investment return and other actuarial factors will allow the sale of new contracts.
Let me be clear: as an existing plan purchaser, your benefits are backed by the full faith and credit of the state of Texas. Your prepaid tuition plan benefits are secure, guaranteed and will not be changed in any way.
More than 9,000 Texas students are already using prepaid tuition benefits at colleges and universities in Texas and across the nation.
Nothing is more important than education!
Carole Keeton Strayhorn