AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - The State of Texas will invest an additional $123.3 million in federal funds to support education, Gov. Greg Abbott's Office announced Monday, Dec. 20.
The final allocation of the Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funds comes to the state through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA).
This distribution brings the total to more than $362 million in GEER funding for higher education through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) and $67.5 million for public education since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Gov. Abbott's Office said.
"The State of Texas remains committed to students and their success in our education systems — that includes ensuring parents have an option to send their kids to a high-quality charter school and providing direct support to families with children who have special needs," said Governor Abbott in a statement. "We have also quickly become a leader in workforce education, reskilling, and upskilling, and this additional funding will ensure a talent-strong Texas that continues to create and import jobs for decades to come. In addition to Texas' commitment to student success programs, this funding will help ensure that students of all ages will not only enter into a higher education program, but they will leave as quickly as possible with a high-value degree or credential."
This round of funding includes:
$20 million to increase funding for the Supplemental Special Education Services (SSES) program which provides money directly to families and connects eligible students with severe cognitive disabilities to additional support for the services they need.
$10 million for Charter School Incubating and Replicating Grants to expand the number of high-quality charter schools available to Texas students.
$25 million to support Texas nurses through loan repayment, financial aid for nursing students, and to accelerate innovation in nursing education.
$17.5 million to expand workforce-aligned, short-term credentials for high-need areas including digital skills, data analytics, and programs for front-line health care workers.
$30.3 million for student success initiatives to improve student enrollment, retention, and credential completion, including technology applications to strengthen student advising.
$12.5 million to continue strategic investments in student financial aid programs, including transfer grants and the Texas Leadership Scholarship Program.
$5 million to support the agency's ongoing work to modernize the state's educational and workforce data infrastructure and enhance cybersecurity.
$3 million for Commercial Driver License (CDL) training and repayment, to improve transportation and the supply chain.
"While COVID-19 has created numerous challenges for schools, the Governor and legislative leadership continue to make public education a top priority," said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath. "For some of our most at-risk students, this significant new round of funding will prioritize getting families across Texas direct access to special education and other targeted supplemental services to support their children's varied educational needs."
"Governor Abbott and the legislative leadership recognized early in the pandemic that targeted investments in higher education would be essential for the state's economic recovery and future competitiveness," said Commissioner of Higher Education Harrison Keller. "This commitment reflects a vision that has allowed Texas to become one of only a few states that prioritized discretionary federal stimulus funds for higher education. We are grateful for these strategic investments in building a talent strong Texas."
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