Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee announces Federal Work-Study program at 5 Houston universities

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee announced today that the United States Department of Education has selected Texas Southern University, Houston Community College, South Texas College of Law Houston, the University of St. Thomas, and San Jacinto Community College to participate in an innovative Federal Work-Study program:

“I am pleased to announce that Texas Southern University, Houston Community College, South Texas College of Law Houston, the University of St. Thomas, and San Jacinto Community College have been selected to participate in the Department of Education’s expansion of its Federal Work-Study initiative. I am a proud supporter of this program, and I commend the Department of Education’s decision to expand it. This enlargement of the program is a tremendous step forward for low-income students not only in the Houston area but also across the country. In the past 15 years, the average tuition and fees for a semester at a Texas public university have doubled from $2,000 to well over $4,000, and the average student debt of a four-year public university graduate in Texas is about $30,000. For many individuals, today’s staggering college tuition rates are often a barrier that portray a college degree as an unobtainable dream. In the Houston area alone, there are 315,000 students who are enrolled in 500 different degree and certification programs at more than 100 colleges, community colleges, and trade schools.

“Through the expansion of the Federal Work-Study initiative, the Department of Education is actively working to address the financial burden associated with a college degree and provide low-income students part-time employment opportunities that enable them to not only complete their education but also leverage their degree to pursue their dreams. With this expansion, educational institutions like Houston Community College, San Jacinto Community College, South Texas College of Law Houston, Texas Southern University, and the University of St. Thomas will be able to encourage more of their students to seek Federal Work-Study opportunities in the private sector. In addition, this innovative program will now allow universities to pay low-income students for work experiences, such as student-teaching or clinical rotations, that are mandated by academic curricula.

“I am proud to have supported the legislation that authorized the program that made this expansion possible, and I congratulate the Department of Education for its tremendous efforts to address the financial burden placed on low-income college students through the Federal Work-Study initiative.”