Lariat Letters: Tex. voters should expand student loan program

Today we will see Texas Proposition 3 come to a vote. This proposition is important to college students of Texas residence because it authorizes the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to issue and sell general obligation bonds to finance educational loans for Texas residents. This program, known as the College Access Loan program, has provided more than 340,000 students with $2 billion in student loans.

With the current instability of the U.S. economy, as well as the significant funding cut from the Tuition Equalization Grant this past spring, many college students rely on College Access Loans to assist in financing the significant cost of higher education. These fixed-rate loans maintain one of the lowest interest rates for loans across the nation – the current rate is only 5.25 percent over the lifetime of the loan.

Because of the low interest, an unusually high percentage of students receiving this loan are able to pay back the loan in a timely manner.

Because of this high return rate, these loans have not detracted from the general revenue of Texas; rather, the bonds issued to finance the College Access Loans have been repaid through payments from previously issued loans.

As a senior bioinformatics major, I understand well the burden of the cost of higher education. Many of my friends were forced to drop out of college simply because of an inability to pay for the next semester of school. Many of those students excelled academically and remained highly involved on campus and in our local community, yet they were unable to complete their degree because of the high cost of education.

Because of students such as these, it is crucial to maintain support of higher education at the state level. The future of Texas will always depend on the next generation of bright minds coming from colleges across our beloved state. It is our responsibility as Texas citizens to support the education of the next generation.

During the 40-year history of the College Access Loans program, voters have had to approve the issuing of general obligation bonds by Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for these loans seven times. Never once has the proposition been rejected. As we vote to approve these bonds yet again, I highly encourage you to support our fellow Texans in their pursuit of higher education by voting in favor of Proposition 3.

—Angela Gray
Student Body External Vice President, Class of 2012