Plan­ning for the fu­ture

Austin American-Statesman - - WORLD & NATION -

Texas Guar­an­teed is ne­go­ti­at­ing with the U.S. Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion on what role it will play in the re­vamped stu­dent loan in­dus­try — and ex­actly how it will be paid for its ser­vices, Tor­res said.

The agency may be paid di­rectly by the Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment af­ter go­ing through a com­pet­i­tive bid­ding process with other agen­cies. Or it could work out in­di­vid­ual con­tracts with Texas’ 146 col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties to con­tinue to pro­vide ser­vices that in­clude de­fault and delin­quency pre­ven­tion, fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy and debt man­age­ment pro­grams, and train­ing for fi­nan­cial aid ad­min­is­tra­tors.

Once those de­tails are ironed out, Texas Guar­an­teed plans to ask the state Leg­is­la­ture in Jan­uary to amend the law that spells out its du­ties to re­flect the re­al­i­ties of the new fed­eral pro­gram.

As a pub­lic non­profit, Texas Guar­an­teed re­ceives no state ap­pro­pri­a­tions, but the agency must jus­tify its ex­is­tence ev­ery 12 years un­der Texas’ sun­set law. Af­ter pass­ing the sun­set process in 2004, the agency is up for re­view next in Septem­ber 2017.

Cur­rently, the Texas Ed­u­ca­tion Code es­tab­lishes the agency to specif­i­cally “ad­min­is­ter a guar­an­teed stu­dent loan pro­gram.”

“With these changes, their role is ques­tion­able, es­pe­cially un­der the ex­ist­ing statute,” said state Sen. Ju­dith Zaf­firini, D-Laredo. Zaf­firini, head of the Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mit­tee, said her staff is cur­rently work­ing with Texas Guar­an­teed of­fi­cials to amend the statute.

Zaf­firini added that Texas Guar­an­teed does valu­able work and said she doesn’t fore­see the agency be­ing dis­man­tled.

“All of those ser­vices are very im­por­tant, es­pe­cially debt man­age­ment and fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy,” she said. “Many of the stu­dents that need the money the most lack that kind of in­for­ma­tion. They have to learn to man­age

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