Round Rock, TX – Eighty percent of all freshmen attending Texas public institutions in fall 2018 were enrolled at community colleges, according to Trellis Company’s 2020 State of Student Aid and Higher Education in Texas (SOSA) report, published today. The report, which is updated and published annually, also reveals that the cost to attend the State’s public universities is less than the national average, and nearly three-quarters of students at those universities were not in the top 10% of their high school class.

New this year, Trellis’ SOSA provides an overview of COVID-19 legislation as it relates to higher education and the allocation of the $1 billion in CARES Act funding across Texas, by region.

The SOSA serves as a key resource guide for college and college-readiness statistics across Texas’ seven regions. The wide economic and socio-demographic diversity represented, coupled with available national comparisons, provides strong insights for the State’s current and future education finance policy-making discussions. In addition to a downloadable PDF, the report is available in an easy-to-navigate mobile version that provides quick access to information wherever these discussions are taking place.

“The significant impact of this pandemic and resulting economic downturn on Texas’ students, educators, and institutions has been felt statewide,” said Scott Giles, President and CEO of Trellis Company. “As we work together to address our recovery, the SOSA can ground policy discussions in facts and inspire solutions that will steer Texas into the future.”

Due to the State’s shifting demographic, economic, and education landscape, the report includes statistics in additional areas such as student financial wellness and consumer debt, which can impact loan delinquency and default rates. For example, when compared nationally, student loan debt in Texas not only ranks lower than the national average, but also has yet to surpass per capita auto debt.

Notable data points from the 2020 SOSA, including those from the CARES Act and Trellis’ recent study on Food Insecurity:

  • The most heavily populated regions of the state – the Central Texas, Gulf Coast, and Metroplex regions – will receive nearly three-quarters of the CARES Act allocations in Texas.
  • Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree at a Texas public university would have to work 68 hours per week at minimum wage to pay for their education solely through work earnings.
  • Average tuition at public four-year institutions nationwide increased 37 percent between 2008 and 2018. Texas had one of the smaller increases in tuition (30 percent) over that time period among the largest six states.
  • Students at public institutions in Texas benefited from $795 million in tuition exemptions and waivers.
  • The statewide FAFSA completion rate was 61 percent in fall 2019 and varied from 55 percent in the East Texas region to 69 percent in the Rio Grande Valley region.
  • Seventy-five percent of students enrolled in public two-year schools worked during the fall 2019 semester.
  • U.S. undergraduate veterans received about $12,000 in median total veteran’s education benefits. Although they were less likely to be borrowers, veteran undergraduates borrowed larger amounts than non-veterans when they did borrow.
  • Texas borrowers who attended short-term programs have a higher three-year default rate—more than twice the rate of those who attended four-year schools (14.4 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively).

“The gap between need and appropriations has closed somewhat, as Texas has seen a seven percent increase in educational appropriations per full time-equivalent student in the past five years.” said Carla Fletcher, Senior Research Analyst at Trellis and lead author of the report. “However, work on this important effort remains, as they are still down 18 percent from what they were prior to the 2008 recession.”

To access or download the report, please visit


About Trellis Company

Trellis Company is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation with the dual mission of helping student borrowers successfully repay their education loans and promoting access and success in higher education. Trellis has a 40-year successful track record of delivering positive outcomes for students and institutions. Trellis’ strong philanthropic heritage of giving through grants to colleges, universities, and research groups remains focused on improving student outcomes, especially to assist underserved students and families, and to help institutions navigate the changing landscape of higher education.

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