Influential leaders of the Texas Commission on a Representative Student Body called for a rise in state spending on financial aid for minority college students today. They requested that a biannual appropriation of $500 million be awarded to students based on need, arguing that diversity in higher education is essential to create a strong economy in Texas.
A ruling in 1996 by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that race could not be a determinant in the admissions process at public colleges in Texas. The ruling came from a lawsuit brought by several white students who were angered after being declined admission at the University of Texas’ law school. The order has also been applied to financial aid programs.
After the ruling went into effect, public colleges in Texas saw an immediate decline in the number of enrolled minorities. The state of California saw similar results after passing the anti-affirmative action measure Proposition 209.
“Lack of money is the main reason why minority students do not enter college, transfer from community or technical colleges, or stay long enough to receive a degree,” the commission reported. “Without additional financial support, many Texans will not acquire the education necessary to become fully productive citizens, and the state will not have the educated work force that it needs to remain competitive.”
The committee also suggested creating a fund of $60 million to finance student recruitment efforts and $49 million to increase work-study programs. Many legislators oppose the committee’s recommendations.