As part of the 2016-17 Policy Research Project (PRP), Evidence-Based Education Policy in the Texas Legislature, six LBJ School students wrote a bill to improve coordination between high schools and higher education institutions regarding dual-credit courses. HB2155 passed out of the House Higher Education Committee in April 2017.
“The partnerships outlined in the bill would increase college enrollment, reduce time to degrees and certifications, and could almost immediately start saving both taxpayers and students millions of dollars annually by ensuring that their earned credits both transfer between institutions as well as apply to a specific degree path,” explained first-year Master of Public Affairs student Victoria Keller.
The students worked closely with Michael Villarreal, a Ph.D. candidate in public policy at the LBJ School and a former member of the Texas House of Representatives.
“Having a former representative as our adviser was invaluable in helping us understand the legislative process. This PRP also highlighted for me how much we need to have students involved with the legislature. We need to put our findings to practical use and involve the community.” —Victoria Keller
“Having a former representative as our adviser was invaluable in helping us understand the legislative process,” said Keller. “This PRP also highlighted for me how much we need to have students involved with the legislature. We need to put our findings to practical use and involve the community.”
Though the bill did not get a floor vote in the House or a committee hearing in the Senate this session, Keller says she intends to keep working on it.
“I’m very excited about where we got, and if the bill gets hung up in the drama of the current session, I will just reintroduce it earlier next session,” she said.
Other MPAff students involved in drafting the bill included Jaclyn Le, Kelsey Thompson, Laurie Roberts, Michael Benbow and Thomas Trinh.