April 12, 2011
I am writing to you about an issue that is vitally important to the future of higher education in Texas and to our dear students at Baylor University. I am also asking for your help.
In 1971, visionary leaders made a promise to future generations of young Texans when they established the Texas Tuition Equalization Grant (TEG) program. For forty years now, the TEG has provided need-based, education-empowering grants to talented and deserving Texas students choosing a private university experience. The TEG offers a modest grant to students with demonstrated financial need, many of whom aspire to be the first in their families to graduate from college. For these students, the TEG is essential in providing access to Baylor and its faith-based environment in which students are provided a distinct education grounded in a worldview of eternal significance.
Now, the Texas Legislature is considering a plan to cut TEG funding by half, potentially devastating a program that has served financially challenged Texas families for more than four decades.
The statewide TEG budget of $102 million represents an infinitesimal part of the state budget. While it provides an extraordinary advantage to Texas students and families, its benefit to taxpayers is no less significant. The program costs state government half of what it otherwise spends to send students to a public institution in Texas. This year alone, more than 3,200 Baylor students are benefitting from this smart-dollar investment. Without it, many would be unable to attend Baylor.
All of us in higher education recognize that this is a time for tightening belts. Budget cuts are inevitable. Sacrifices are required, and private institutions, including Baylor, are fully prepared to do their part. But Texas will suffer if we turn a blind eye to the neediest of our neighbors. We must defend the public good created by the state's private institutions of higher learning. These institutions supply the sons and daughters of Texas with a distinct educational alternative while preparing young people to meet the challenges of this increasingly complex global century. The TEG helps ensure that this important educational option will continue to be available to all Texas students.
The TEG is a smart educational investment that has already provided economic dividends and made a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Texans. I urge you to contact your state legislator to let him or her know how important the TEG is to you, to Baylor and to the future of Texas. For more information, please go to the Protect the Promise website: http://www.baylor.edu/saveteg
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