News Roundup: UT Austin To Give Free Tuition To Low-Income Texas Students

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelJuly 10, 2019 1:41 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

The University of Texas at Austin will provide free tuition for undergraduate students from low and middle-income families starting in 2020.

Claire McInerny with KUT News explains how students can qualify.

The UT Board of Regents voted Tuesday to allocate $160 million to be used for financial aid. Undergraduate students from Texas will have all of their tuition covered if their family makes up to $65,000. Students will get partial tuition covered if their family makes between $65,000 and $125,000. UT Austin president Greg Fenves said he hopes this will mean more students will be able to consider UT.

 “So college affordability is one of the biggest issues facing the country and facing families in Texas,” Fenves said. “We’re aware of this every year as we’re recruiting students and admitting students and then they’re looking at how to afford a college education.”

UT expects almost one-quarter of undergraduate students to get full tuition covered under this program. Eligible students will start getting the aid in fall 2020.

The third Democratic presidential primary debate will be held in Texas.

The event will be hosted by ABC News and Univision in Houston on September 12, with the potential for a second night on September 13.

The exact venue will be announced at a later date.

The first round of debates was held in Miami and the second debate is set to be held in Detroit at the end of this month.

The Texas Democratic Party applauded the decision. Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa called it a big deal, and described Texas as “the biggest battleground state.”

Houston has already been a hotbed of activity for presidential hopefuls making their case for 2020. Many Democratic contenders have already stopped in the city for campaign events and candidate forums, including one hosted by the National Education Association just last week.

A lawsuit Texas is leading to end the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was heard in federal court Tuesday.

University of Texas Law Professor Justin Nelson was in the New Orleans courtroom. He says judges at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals were sympathetic to the state’s argument that the ACA became invalid when Congress zeroed out the law’s tax penalty for not having health insurance.

“Ultimately this is going to the Supreme Court. I think there is some hope that maybe the Fifth Circuit would rule in favor of the Affordable Care Act and the Supreme Court will just not hear the case. I think what’s most likely now is that the Supreme Court will hear the case and that they will be the ultimate deciders on this,” Nelson says.

Nelson says if Texas prevails in this lawsuit, many Americans with pre-existing conditions will lose protections in the health care law. Texas, itself, already has the highest uninsured rate in the country.