Students Lobby for State Tuition Grant at Capital
March 25, 2015
AUSTIN -- Wayland Baptist University students visited the state capital on Tuesday, March 24, to lobby for continuation of the Tuition Equalization Grant, a program which helps private school students attend the universities of their choice.
Senior Olivia Bybee, a middle school math education major from Amarillo, and junior Lauren Chase, a mass communications major from Claude, visited their state representatives and senators to thank them for support of the grant program and to encourage continued funding from the state.
Bybee made a stop by State Representative John Smithee’s office, visiting briefly with his assistant Erin Eisenhower about the importance of the TEG grant. Chase visited her representative, Ken King, also having a chance to chat with his aides. The pair then visited Senator Kel Seliger’s office, offering thanks and encouragement for support of the grant with his legislative intern, Pearl Cruz.
While in the capital, the group also visited Senator Charles Perry of Lubbock encouraging support for the grant as well as State Senator Bob Hall’s policy director Dr. Boyd Bush, who is an adjunct instructor for Wayland’s online programs.
Both Bybee and Chase can attest to the benefits of the grant and how their experience at WBU has been enriching.
“The TEG grant is one of the many ways God has blessed me to be able to stay at Wayland and enjoy the education they provide to be able to move forward in life,” Bybee said. “It was an incredible opportunity to go to Austin and meet people who are directly associated with this grant, to be able to make those connections for the future and say ‘Thank you’ to those who support it and pray they continue to do so.”
“When I first came to Wayland, it felt like I was already at home,” Chase said. “I had many choices to go to college between Amarillo College, West Texas A&M and Wayland, which was third because I didn’t know I could afford it. When Wayland offered me a great amount of scholarships, I felt it was God’s way of saying, ‘This is where I want you to be.’ I prefer going to a smaller school, and Wayland has been great about being a small school but with lots of options at the same time.”
The TEG helps low- and middle-income Texas residents offset the cost of private school tuition, with an average grant of $3,380. A majority (62%) of the recipients receive Pell grants as well. The grants serve a diverse racial population and help graduate students as well, though the larger portion goes to undergraduate students (88%).
According to the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas, the TEG reduces taxpayer costs for higher education because maximum grant levels are around half of what the state allocates for students at a public state university. Grant recipients must meet the same enrollment and academic progress standards as those who receive the TEXAS Grant at public schools. Independent institutions in the state have higher graduation rates than state universities, with TEG students impacting that number greatly.