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State Impact (Fiscal Note dated March 16, 2015)
Estimated Two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related Funds for HB658, Committee Report 1st House, Substituted: a negative impact of ($12,054,520) through the biennium ending August 31, 2017.
No significant fiscal implication to local government.
05/08/2015 We remain neutral on this bill in the second chamber.
The future of higher education is uncertain due in large part to the overwhelming cost and the extraordinary debt that many students leave school with. The economic impact of student debt is felt in every sector of the economy as money that could otherwise be spent on buying a first house, traveling, or providing for daily family needs is instead dedicated to repayment of loans for degrees that may have less market value than the cost to repay them. This has left many students wondering if the traditional model of a four year university degree, even at a more reasonably priced state school, is right for them.
Due to these factors there is a resurgence of interest by many students in going to technical and trade schools where they can learn highly marketable skills and receive valuable certifications. The return on value of these types of schools is, in many cases, much greater than that of a four year degree.
As more students look at alternative higher education options, institutions such as TSTC will continue to grow to meet the demand from both students and employers. In our modern economy, alternative options such as trade and technical schools will continue to garner a growing share of the higher education market.
While we would prefer that the demand generally be met by the private sector, we also acknowledge the reality that TSTC is an existing and growing institution that serves its students well and provides exactly the kind of alternatives that many students are looking for. Broadly speaking we support the direction that institutions such as TSTC are taking higher education.
Still, we are concerned about the costs associated with creating a new campus of TSTC in Fort Bend County. This designation would allow the issuance of tuition revenue bonds to fund the campus which would in turn likely lead to appropriations to pay the debt service on the bonds. While we support the alternative education concepts as outlined above, we remain concerned about the growing problem of revenue bond debt across Texas.
Balancing our support for moving higher education in a direction that affords students greater opportunity to take responsibility for their educational and economic futures against our concern about the growing cost of bond debt in our state, we are neutral on this legislation.