For more than 152 years, the Baylor Alumni Association (BAA) has encouraged fellow alumni to link arms across generations in support of their alma mater.
This long, proud tradition is being called upon today as Baylor students face a serious challenge to their future.
The Tuition Equalization Grant (TEG) program, which in 2011 provided need-based grants to 27,000 Texas college students attending the state’s forty private colleges and universities, is being targeted by legislators looking to trim the state’s budget.
The original budget proposal called for a 41 percent cut to the state-funded program, directly affecting the 3,200 Baylor students—including many first-generation and minority students—who have relied upon the TEG to make possible their pursuit of higher education.
Noting that the total amount provided to students through the TEG program represents only 1 percent of the state’s total higher education budget, Baylor President Ken Starr has said “it will be a grave disservice to higher education in Texas—the gateway to a productive citizenry, job creation, and human flourishing—should we fail to defend adequately the profound public good created by the state’s private institutions of higher learning.”
And as the Baylor Lariat recently reported, “The TEG has also benefitted taxpayers, allowing them to pay less to educate students at private universities than they pay to send students to public schools. In fiscal year 2009, full-time students attending state universities cost taxpayers $7,616 each, while the average TEG funding was $3,441 per resident.”
Bottom line: The TEG program makes financial sense, and it opens doors to Texas students that would otherwise be closed. It should be preserved at full strength.
One of the Baylor Alumni Association’s core values states, “We believe in keeping a Baylor education accessible for the leaders of tomorrow.” Because of the TEG program’s importance in making a Baylor degree accessible to Texas students, the BAA is encouraging alumni to become engaged in confronting this challenging situation.
Baylor alumni may be interested in knowing that former Baylor President Abner McCall played a central role in the creation of the TEG program, which was established in 1971. He was one of its chief advocates, successfully spearheading a lobbying effort by a coalition of private colleges and universities.
Judge McCall was also deeply involved in the life of the Baylor Alumni Association. In fact, he twice served as president of the organization’s governing board, and in 1978 he encouraged the alumni association to take the additional step of becoming a legally incorporated, nonprofit organization.
“I believe this is the type of occasion that Judge McCall envisioned for the BAA, in terms of encouraging our members and the entire Baylor alumni family to speak out in favor of this program that he helped create to serve Texas college students,” said Jeff Kilgore, executive vice president and CEO of the BAA. “Your voice can make a difference to thousands of students at Baylor and across Texas.”
There is a wealth of information about the TEG program on the Baylor University website at baylor.edu/saveteg. The Baylor Alumni Association encourages you to read the information presented there and to contact legislators using the resources found on the Baylor website to advocate for the preservation of the TEG program.