Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 400
By: Giddings
Higher Education


Individual public institutions of higher education independently distribute
pertinent information to prospective students to ensure that the students
and their parents understand the benefits of higher education and the
necessary steps to prepare for college.  However, state law prior to the
77th Legislature did not provide for a public program to distribute such
information which might help increase the admission and enrollment of
students in Texas institutions of higher education.  Also, prior to the
77th Legislature, there was no statewide program that created partnerships
between school districts with low rates of college-bound high school
students and institutions of higher education.  House Bill 400 creates a
plan to increase enrollment at institutions of higher education through
partnerships between school districts and public institutions and creates
the Higher Education Assistance Pilot Program to provide prospective
students with assistance and information on admissions and enrollment at


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does
not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


House Bill 400 amends the Education Code to require the Texas Higher
Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and the Texas Education Agency (TEA)
to identify each school district with one or more high schools that have
had an average of at least 26 students in the high school graduating class
during the preceding five years and have been among the lowest 10 percent
of high schools in the percentage of graduates enrolling for the following
academic year in an institution of higher education (institution) for any
two consecutive years during the preceding five years.  The bill requires
TEA to notify applicable school districts that are not operating under a
plan to increase the enrollment in institutions (plan) and THECB to notify
each public institution in this state which is in closest geographic
proximity to an applicable school district not operating under a plan. 

The bill requires a school district not later than August 1 of the year in
which the district receives notice to enter into an agreement with the
appropriate institution to develop a plan to increase the percentage of the
graduating seniors in the district who enroll in an institution for the
academic year following the graduation. The bill requires the institution
to enter into an agreement unless that institution or the school district
recruits another institution to enter into that agreement.  The bill
authorizes the school district and the institution to enter into an
agreement with one or more other institutions in this state to participate
in developing the plan. The bill establishes the requirements of the plan. 

The bill requires THECB to administer and coordinate the Higher Education
Assistance Pilot Program if the legislature appropriates money specifically
for the program.  If money is not appropriated by the legislature for that
purpose, THECB is authorized to implement the program using other
appropriations available for that purpose.  The bill requires THECB,
through the program, to provide prospective students in the three areas of
this state that have the highest number of students who do not attend
institutions with assistance in filling out applications and with
information on admissions, enrollment, and financial aid at  institutions.
The bill requires that the information be provided at least twice each year
at one or more appropriate locations in each area served by the program.
The bill also authorizes THECB to coordinate with institutions or other
entities to provide the required information and assistance.  No later than
at the expiration of the program on August 31, 2003, THECB is required to
submit to the legislature a report on the program's effectiveness and
recommendations on whether to implement the program statewide. 


September 1, 2001.