Blinn students visit state Capitol as part of Texas Community College Day

Students speak with state lawmakers regarding the value of community colleges

Students speak with state lawmakers regarding the value of community colleges

February 1, 2019

Twenty-seven students from across the Blinn College District spoke with state legislators about the impact Blinn has made in their lives Wednesday, Jan. 30, as part of Texas Community College Day at the state Capitol in Austin.

The day began in the Senate chambers inside the Capitol, where more than 1,000 students from Texas’s 50 community college districts were recognized by state lawmakers. Students from Blinn’s Brenham, Bryan, RELLIS, Schulenburg, and Sealy campuses then met with elected officials to discuss their personal stories and the value of Texas community colleges.

“Community College Day gives our students an opportunity to share their stories with legislators and to talk about the opportunities that Blinn and other community colleges provide for students across the State of Texas,” said Leighton Schubert, Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs and Strategic Relations.

Blinn students spoke to Sen. Lois W. Kolkhorst, Sen. Charles Schwertner, Rep. Kyle Kacal, and Rep. Ben Leman regarding the need for community college funding to meet the state’s growing demand for a community college education.

“I plan to pursue a career in public service, so this experience gave me some insight into how the legislative process works and how legislators interact with their constituents,” said Nathan Stinson, a sophomore economics major from Austin. “It was very beneficial to witness this process beyond the classroom.”

Freshman Addison Elstner said, “This day has probably been my favorite out of all my Student Government Association experiences because it brought everything together and let us see our local work at the state level.”

According to the Texas Association of Community Colleges, community colleges account for 46 percent of the state’s higher education enrollment, including 73 percent of all freshmen and sophomores and 93 percent of all career and technical education enrollment. Texas community colleges awarded 116,269 certificates and degrees in 2017, a 211 percent increase over state-wide figures in 2000.

Prior to the 86th Texas Legislative Session, Blinn established six policy priorities:

  1. Blinn supports the state funding goals for community colleges as adopted by the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) and Community College Association of Texas Trustees (CCATT). The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Community and Technical Colleges Formula Advisory Committee recommends an 8 percent, or $144 million, overall increase in state formula funding for community colleges for a total request of $1.9 billion in the 2020-21 biennium.
  2. Blinn requests that the Legislature support enhanced policies, programs, and associated funding to strengthen workforce development services and initiatives. This includes continued growth of the Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) Grant Program and the Skills Development Fund Program, both of which are administered by the Texas Workforce Commission, and the inclusion of community colleges in new workforce development policies advanced through the Legislature.
  3. Blinn respectfully requests that the 86th Legislature clarify the definition of the transfer to a four-year university success point category to include transfers of co-enrolled students.
  4. Blinn supports the dual credit goals for community colleges adopted by the TACC and the CCATT.
  5. Blinn requests that the Legislature support additional state funding to offset the rising expenses associated with Hazlewood Act exemptions.
  6. Blinn requests that the Legislature restore the lost funding to ensure the Star of the Republic Museum’s continued success in educating visitors from across the region and state regarding the proud history of the Texas Republic.

“These policy priorities reflect Blinn’s commitment to providing quality, affordable education for Texas students,” Schubert said. “With the Legislature’s support, we look forward to reducing barriers to higher education while continuing to offer programs that prepare students to thrive in the workforce.”

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About Blinn College

With an enrollment of 19,581 students, Blinn ranks among the nation’s leaders in transferring students to leading four-year universities and has received national recognition for affordable educational excellence.