(1080 KRLD) – Financing your kid’s college education in Texas could become a lot more difficult. State lawmakers are proposing cuts of more than 40-percent in financial aid for college students.

Higher Education Commissioner, Raymund Paredes, says the cut in Texas Grants would stifle the future of poor students who could be the first in their family to go to college.

“That’s precisely the issue that I’m concerned about that we won’t have any new money for new students who’ve achieved at high levels, are ambitious, and have a lot of talent, that need help to go to college,” he said.

The cuts would eliminate all funding for new eligible students and Paredes says the move would be a big mistake. “If they bring it [grant expenditures] back down to the level to house and senate bills, we wouldn’t be able to fund any new students because we’d only have enough money to fund continuing students,” explained the educator.

Paredes believes the cuts would have the biggest negative impact on poor students of color.

According to Paredes, in the last two years the state has seen the largest growth in higher education in history. He wants to keep it that way, because he says, our economy depends on it.

“The critical issue is that we know that over 60-percent of the jobs that will drive the economy in Texas, and around the country, over the next 25 years will require some form of post-secondary education.”

Paredes says the state simple need to ‘make an investment’ in students.

Phyllis Smith speaks with Texas Higher Education Commissioner Raymond Paredes