Senator Bettencourt Files Legislation to Expand Dual Credit Opportunities for Students Across Texas

Austin - Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) filed SB 251 to expand dual credit opportunities for students throughout Texas. SB 251 expands on bipartisan legislation written by Senator Bettencourt in 2015, SB 1004 that created additional dual credit opportunities for Harris County students. That bill allowed public school students in Harris County to take dual credit courses from any of the four community college systems inside Harris County. The impact was immediate with a 14 percent increase in dual credit enrollment in Harris County from spring 2015 to spring 2016 when the bill was passed, just in the first year of implementation.

“Dual credit expansion in Harris County has given students a chance to save money on their college education and obtain workforce training,” said Senator Bettencourt. “Passing SB 251 will ensure that all Texas students have the same choice in dual credit programs that students in Harris County currently have.”

Since the passage of SB 1004, Houston Community College has seen a 45 percent increase in dual credit enrollment, Lee College has seen a 54 percent increase, Lone Star College has seen a 41 percent increase, and San Jacinto College has seen more than a 70 percent increase. This enrollment growth success is more than three years, from 2014-2015 to 2017-2018. The key provision of SB 251 includes:

- Modifies the code to allow a high school student enrolled in a district the ability to enroll in a course at any public junior college that has agreed with the district to offer the course.

“Dual Credit courses are the perfect hybrid between lower-ed and higher-ed,” added Bettencourt. “When college-ready students can graduate high school in some cases with an associate degree that is a tremendous advantage for Texas students. Nothing says you are college ready like graduating high school with a degree! This saves money for taxpayers too!”

Senator Bettencourt is the Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Property Tax Reform, the Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Government Reform, and serves on the Senate Finance, Education and Higher Education committees. Additionally, he is also the Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Relations Committee. He also serves on the Joint Committee on Government Facilities and is an active member of the ongoing Texas Commission on Public School Finance, where he is the Chair of the Revenue Workgroup. Senator Bettencourt plans to file additional legislation in the coming days on a wide range of issues.

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