The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

Despite state budget cuts for tuition, student protest can make difference

The state of Texas is broke.

Recent projections put the current state budget shortfall at approximately $27 billion. As the state seeks to balance the budget, many programs and services are receiving large reductions in funding and many are being eliminated completely.

Among the programs and services currently on the chopping block is the Texas Equalization Grant, also known as the TEG.

The TEG is the state financial aid program for financially needy Texas students attending private colleges and universities in the state of Texas.

Since it was founded in 1971, the TEG program has given students from low income and middle class backgrounds a broader range of college options.

The 81st Legislature appropriated $105.8 million dollars of TEG funds for each year of 2010-2011. That amount was less than 1 percent of all the funds appropriated for higher education.

Currently 42 Texas institutions have students that receive funding from the TEG. These institutions include, Rice University, Austin College, Southwestern University, Texas Christian University, Abilene Christian University and of course, SMU.

This program is extremely valuable to many SMU students. SMU has 1,526 students who have been awarded TEG funds for this academic year alone. The funds given to SMU students amounted to $6,324,641.

As the state looks to close its budget gap these funds may be eliminated.

It has been proposed that 40 percent of the current level of funding for students be eliminated in the next state budget for continuing students. The amount of money for incoming students, current high school juniors and seniors, could be reduced to zero.

I recently visited the state capitol to speak with state representatives and senators about this issue.

Currently the political climate is so hostile that the idea of raising taxes or dipping into the state’s rainy day fund are very unlikely. A high ranking state representative told me that the only way to save the TEG and other similar programs would be to dip into the state’s rainy day fund. There is high pressure from Gov. Perry and other political figures not to takes these steps.

If these funds are not maintained, the impact on SMU and similar institutions would be catastrophic. The hundreds of students currently enrolled at SMU may not be able to make up the reduction on grant money that could occur.

SMU is a very expensive institution and many of our fellow Mustangs would be unable to attend this university without this state support. As we continue to recruit the most talented students from across the state, regardless of their economic background, we as a university need the TEG in order to be able to offer students financial aid packages that make a SMU education possible.

The idea that this program may not be available for the SMU classes of 2015 and 2016 is terrifying.

It can be intimidating knowing that the lawmakers in Austin hold such tremendous power over so many of our fellow Mustangs. But we too hold an enormous power.

As our student counterparts across the globe have shown in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, the power of students to make change should never be underestimated. We are in this together as a university. A reduction of financial assistance to any Mustang is a threat to the entire SMU community.

God Bless Texas and God Bless SMU.

Jake Torres is a senior Spanish and English double major. He is also the Student Body President. Jake can be reached for comments or questions at

[email protected].

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