The Texas Legislative Guide was designed and developed by Becca Aaronson, Emily Albracht, Daniel Craigmile, Annie Daniel, Ben Hasson and Ryan Murphy for The Texas Tribune. The Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that promotes civic engagement and discourse on public policy, politics, government and other matters of statewide concern.
For decades, veterans who served at least 180 days are entitled to free college tuition at a Texas public school under the Hazlewood program. In 2009, the program was expanded to allow veterans to pass their unused benefits on to a dependent.
Since then, costs have spiraled out of control. Last year, universities spent $169 million covering Hazlewood tuition. That amount could increase to $379 million by 2019, according to the Legislative Budget Board.
Heading into the 2015 legislative session, universities said they couldn't handle that growth, and that lawmakers either needed to fund the veterans’ tuition itself, or place limits on who can enroll.
But in the final days of the session, lawmakers seeking to reform Hazlewood reached an impasse. Democrats and veterans groups celebrated the bill’s demise as a victory; they feared it would break a promise the state had made to its military members.
Updated: May 31, 2015
- Help for the Hazlewood tuition program
- Tuition revenue bonds for campus construction
- Reining in rising tuition
- In-state tuition for undocumented students
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