VanDeaver visits campus to discuss Texas House Bill 8

By Emma Rae Ward
Staff Writer

Texas is the second largest state in the nation, known for its cowboy culture and diverse industries. Within this diversity, many people also take pride in the state’s wealth of education and knowledge of everything from being a businessman and woman, to cowboys and ranchers. Without education, many feel that Texas would not be the successful state that it is today. Texas State Representative for District 1, Gary VanDeaver, continues to be a strong advocate for Texas education. According to his biography on the Texas House of Representatives website, VanDeaver is a “smalltown Texas man who grew up in East Texas and learned the importance of a strong worth ethic, a love for the land, and Faith in God from an early age.”

Earlier this semester, NTCC hosted VanDeaver on its main campus to discuss the topic of House Bill 8, a recently-passed piece of legislation that VanDeaver said is solely focused on “changing the funding method for community colleges” and “focusing on creating credentialing that is specially geared towards their specific area.” 

HB 8, sponsored by VanDeaver, took effect on Sept. 1, 2023. 

The bill was passed to codify a new funding system for community colleges like NTCC with a focus on completions and awarding more degrees, certificates and credentials of value to students who might be looking to move right into the workforce. VanDeaver and others who support HB 8 and the allocation of $683 million in the state budget, assert its ability to position. Texas as a national leader in tying funding for community colleges to measurable student-focused outcomes. 

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board considers credentials of value awarded as badges, certificates, and degrees, that help position graduates for well-paying jobs. Credentials of value are those awarded in high-demand fields where employers are looking for skilled employees and awards for successful student transfers from community colleges to four-year universities. Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board also considers the completion of a sequence of dual credit courses, which are offered to high school students and can set them on early pathways to success, as credentials of value. 

NTCC President Dr. Ron Clinton said VanDeaver has always been a champion for education and his work to help establish the new funding model for community colleges is another example of that continued support. “He is a man who really has very strong beliefs, and he believes in education. Obviously, his career was in public school education, and he is an educator through and through,” Clinton said. “He has done so much for community colleges, and we are just grateful for what he’s done.”