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Blinn seeks Legislature’s support for statewide efforts

College requests funding support for Engineering Academy, Star of the Republic Museum

Blinn College will seek support for its statewide efforts during the 84th regular session of the Texas Legislature, Cathy Boeker, associate vice president for Governmental & Public Affairs, told the Board of Trustees during its regular meeting Tuesday.

In addition to its support of the Texas Association of Community College’s 5-Point Campaign, Blinn seeks support for three programs that not only benefit Blinn’s service area, but provide much-needed services for Texans throughout the state.
During the upcoming session, Blinn will ask lawmakers to:

  • Help fund expanding science, technology, engineering and math programs that will help Blinn support Texas A&M University’s Dwight Look College of Engineering in its 25 by 25 initiative.
  • Provide additional funding to offset rising costs associated with the Hazelwood Exemption.
  • Restore funding for Blinn College’s Star of the Republic Museum.

“Community colleges have access to three sources of funding: student tuition, property tax revenue – which is restricted in use – and state appropriations,” Boeker said. “We are requesting additional support from the Legislature to help us expand without placing the financial burden on our students to pay for educational opportunities that serve all Texans.”

The Texas A&M Engineering Academy at Blinn was created in 2013 in support of Texas A&M’s 25 by 25 initiative, which increases access for qualified students to pursue engineering education at Texas A&M and seeks an enrollment of 25,000 engineering students by 2025. The Engineering Academy provides talented students who were not offered full admission to the College of Engineering an opportunity to pursue their degree through a unique co-enrollment program. As partners in the Engineering Academy, Blinn provides a smaller class sizes, greater affordability and expands the opportunities for students to obtain an engineering education.

Blinn seeks an investment of $8 million from the legislature to expand science, technology, engineering and math offerings to help meet this statewide demand for these courses and empower the academy to continue training future engineers with a program unlike anything any other community college in the nation can offer.

“The success and promise of the Engineering Academy has created incredible demand for laboratory space,” Boeker said.

“We are already developing strategies for expanding our science, engineering and math course offerings, and assistance from the Legislature would aid in that process while supporting engineering education for students from across the state.”
Blinn also seeks financial support for the Hazelwood exemption, which provides military veterans and their dependents up to 90 credit hours of paid tuition for courses toward their degree plan. Last year, Blinn incurred almost $1.1 million in Hazelwood exemptions.

The College has asked for a restoration of funding for the administration of Star of the Republic Museum, which plays a vital role in collecting and preserving the material culture of the Texas Republic and draws visitors from throughout the state who wish to learn about the history, cultures and values of early Texans.

The 61st Legislature transferred control and custody of the museum to Blinn, but Blinn depends upon the financial backing of the legislature to carry out this task, and requests that the state aid the College in removing the nearly $400,000 per biennium Blinn spends in operating the museum. State funding for the museum’s operation has risen only slightly since 1986.

About Blinn College
Founded in 1883, Blinn is a comprehensive community college committed to educational excellence and to individual and community enhancement. With an enrollment of 19,317 students, Blinn ranks among the nation’s leaders in transferring students to leading four-year universities and has received national recognition for its affordable educational excellence.

As part of its commitment to student success, Blinn is implementing a Quality Enhancement Plan titled “Destination Success: First-Year Focus,” which utilizes learning communities to support first-year college students.

Registration is currently open for Blinn’s Winter minimester and Spring semester. The Winter minimester runs Dec. 19-23 and Jan. 5-15, and registration is available through Dec. 18. Registration for the 16-week Spring semester is open through Jan. 19, with classes beginning Jan. 20. For enrollment information and to learn about financial aid opportunities, visit: www.blinn.edu.