Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Rick Perry Gives Keynote at the United Negro College Fund's Annual North Texas Governor's Luncheon

Thursday, September 06, 2007  •  Press Release

DALLAS – Gov. Rick Perry today gave the keynote address at the inaugural United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) “Annual North Texas Governor’s Luncheon.” The UNCF provides financial support to small higher education institutions throughout the country to help keep the cost of education feasible for underserved populations. Proceeds from the luncheon will support UNCF’s partner schools in Texas.

“As governor, it is my mission each and every day to build a Texas that welcomes all and includes all; that recognizes the hopes and aspirations of all of our citizens; and that empowers each and every citizen to dream, dare and achieve,” said Perry. “Empowerment does not start on the first day of a college student’s freshman year. Instead, I believe we must devote a significant portion of our efforts and resources to making sure our high school students are ready to move to the next level.”

Research shows that rigorous coursework leads to improved preparation for college. Texas programs such as the Four-by-Four requirements and initiatives to align high school curriculums with college teachings intently focus on better equipping students to meet the challenges of post-secondary education. Additionally, the Texas High School Project, an alliance between the public and private sector, provides grants to schools and districts making strides in preparing students for college.

By providing financial support to smaller colleges, UNCF helps increase minority degree attainment by lessening the cost of college. Texas is home to five UNCF schools: Paul Quinn College in Dallas; Texas College in Tyler; Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins; Wiley College in Marshall and Huston-Tillotson University in Austin. Today, more than 4,500 Texans attend UNCF schools.

“The institutions supported by this organization provide an entry to higher education for many who might not otherwise have that chance,” said Perry. “The United Negro College Fund is a worthwhile and enduring organization committed to academic excellence in schools across the country.”

The 80th Legislative Session provided a significant boost to Texas’ financial aid programs by allocating $747 million funding for deserving students, an increase of 24 percent from last biennium. This includes an increase of $96.2 million for Texas Grants, $39.4 million for B-on-Time, $5 million for Texas College Work Study, and $5 million for Texas Educational Opportunity Grant. Together, this will help 16,000 more students afford college than year’s past.

This year, Texas will begin providing incentives to colleges based on the number of student who graduate with a bachelor’s degree. These rewards are more lucrative for graduating at-risk students, which include those from low-income families, students older than 20 on their first day of college, and those who begin as part-timers.

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