Annual State of Student Aid Report Covers Pre-Pandemic and Pandemic-Impacted Progress and Statistics

Round Rock, TX – Despite higher unemployment rates due to the COVID-19 pandemic, having a higher education credential still leads to a higher likelihood of employment, according to Trellis Company’s 2021 State of Student Aid and Higher Education in Texas (SOSA) report. Published today, the report also reveals that the cost to attend the Texas’ public and private universities is less than the national average.

Updated annually to cover new and emerging topics, Trellis’ 2021 SOSA provides an overview of COVID-19 legislation related to higher education, including data on the allocation of $2.7 billion in Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund aid across Texas, by region.

The SOSA serves as a key resource guide for college and college-readiness statistics across Texas’ seven regions. This data, coupled with available national comparisons, provides strong insights for the state’s current and future education finance policymaking discussions. In addition to a downloadable PDF and single-page highlights, the report is available in an easy-to-navigate mobile version, which provides quick access to information wherever related 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 Renard Johnson, Interim President and CEO of Trellis Company. “While relief-related funding has provided some short-term support, the SOSA is a valuable tool to ground policy discussions in facts and to inspire solutions as we work together on longer-term recovery efforts that steer Texas into a brighter future.”

To provide greater insight into the impact of the state’s shifting demographic, economic, and educational landscape on higher education, the report includes statistics in areas such as student financial wellness and consumer debt. 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. The impact of related COVID-19 pandemic relief measures can also be seen in the significant decrease in federally held student loan delinquency rates during the first three quarters of 2020.

Notable data points from Trellis’ 2021 SOSA include:

  • 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 based on 2018-2019 costs.
  • Tuition increases at Texas’ public four-year institutions between 2008 and 2018 were lower than the national average (30 percent vs 37 percent) and were also smaller than many of the six largest states.
  • Students at Texas’ public institutions benefited from $785 million in tuition exemptions and waivers.
  • Seventy-five percent of students enrolled in public two-year schools worked during the fall 2019 semester, according to a survey of students at 54 community colleges.
  • Nationally, 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.

“The funding provided by the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund has enabled institutions to maintain crucial educational services and help students meet their pressing basic needs,” said Carla Fletcher, Senior Research Analyst at Trellis and lead author of the report. “However, many students and institutions continue to struggle. In the coming months, we will learn if these federal relief efforts are enough to keep students enrolled.”

The mobile-friendly version, single-page highlight pdf, and full report pdf download can all be accessed at www.trelliscompany.org/SOSA-2021.

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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 over 40 years of success in 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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