Monday, March 24, 2008

1:00 p.m.

Capitol Extension, Room E1.036




Pursuant to a notice posted in accordance with Senate Rule 11.18, a public hearing of the Senate Finance Higher Education Subcommittee was held on Monday, March 24, 2008, in the Capitol Extension, Room E1.036, at Austin, Texas.







Senator Judith Zaffirini, Chair

Senator Robert Duncan

Senator Florence Shapiro

Senator Royce West



Senator Kyle Janek


Senator Steve Ogden




The chair called the meeting to order at 1:00 p.m.  There being a quorum present, the following business was transacted: 


The chair laid out the proposed subcommittee rules for consideration, and Senator Shapiro moved their adoption. There being no objection, the motion was adopted by unanimous consent.


The chair explained in her opening remarks that today's hearing was a joint hearing between the Senate Higher Education Subcommittee and the Senate Finance Higher Education Subcommittee. In the future, the subcommittees will not meet jointly, but will meet on the same day. The chair intends to meet on the fourth Wednesday of every month, following the Senate Finance Committee hearings on the fourth Tuesday of every month. The purpose of today's hearing is to discuss higher education funding in general and hear invited testimony.


The chair introduced subcommittee staff for the 80th Legislative Interim, namely, Warren von Eschenbach, Senate Higher Education Subcommittee Director; Brent Whitaker, Director of Budget Policy; and Lauren Cook, Subcommittee Clerk.


In addition, she recognized Senate Finance Committee staff, namely, Daniel Harper, Senior Budget Analyst; and Amy Jeter, Committee Clerk.


From the Lieutenant Governor's office, she recognized Andrea Sheridan, Senior Policy Analyst; John Opperman, Special Advisor for Budget Policy; Jamie Dudensing, Senior Policy Analyst; and Blaine Brunson, Director of Budget Policy.           


The chair invited other committee members to introduce their staff. Senator Shapiro recognized Susie Strzelec, Higher Education Policy Analyst, and Von Byer, Education Committee Director. Senator Duncan recognized Porter Wilson, Chief of Staff.


The chair explained that the purpose of today's hearing is to begin looking at the finance-related issues regarding higher education, including formula funding, tuition, affordability, and student lending.


Commissioner Raymund Paredes and Susan Brown, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, presented a review of higher education funding issues. 


The following witnesses testified regarding higher education funding: Billy Hamilton, Consultant, University Systems; Jesse Rogers, Chair, General Academic Institution's Formula Funding Advisory Committee; Leon Leach, Chair, Health Related Institution's Formula Advisory Committee; Gregory Williams, Chair, Community and Technical Colleges' Formula Funding Advisory Committee; Mark Yudof, Chancellor, The University of Texas System; Michael McKinney, Chancellor, Texas A&M University System; Charles Matthews, Chancellor, Texas State University System; Millicent Valek, Chair, Texas Association of Community Colleges; and Rey Garcia, President, Texas Association of Community Colleges.


The following witnesses testified regarding student lending issues: Dan Weaver, Assistant Commissioner, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; Lee Donner, Managing Director, First Southwest; George Torres, Assistant Vice President, Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation; and Carol McDonald, President, Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas.


There being no further business, at 6:35 p.m. the committee was recessed, subject to the call of the chair.




Senator Judith Zaffirini, Chair




Amy Jeter, Clerk