TSTC is committed to providing highly specialized and advanced technical education that can lead to great career opportunities. We currently offer over 100 certificate and degree programs state-wide.

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TSTC students come from more than 100 counties across the state. They arrive right out of high school, transfer from other colleges or from the workforce.

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While we are proud that TSTC's education is affordable and a high return on your investment, we realize financial aid is the only option for some students.

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At TSTC we understand your ultimate goal is a career you're passionate about and will make you the money you want to enjoy your life! Our goal is to help you be successful.

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TSTC has been providing top-quality, career-driven education for Texans for close to 50 years. The college is nationally recognized for the number and quality of our technology graduates.

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Public Information Act

Texas State Technical College (TSTC) is committed to providing efficient service when responding to requests for public information.  System Operating Standard GA.1.5.3. Texas Public Information Act (http://www.system.tstc.edu/governance/sos/ga/GA_1_5_3.pdf) sets forth procedures TSTC follows for complying with the Texas Public Information Act.  For more information on the Public Information Act please see the Texas Attorney General Website (https://www.oag.state.tx.us/open/index.shtml).

 

I. Application of the Public Information Act

What is the Texas Public Information Act?

The Texas Public Information Act (the Act) was enacted to open up government to the people.  The Act is codified in the Texas Government Code at Chapter 552.

What types of records generally fall under the Act?

Public records include any information that is collected, assembled, or maintained…by or for TSTC.  The Act applies to records regardless of their format.  It includes information that is maintained in paper, tape, microfilm, video, electronic data held in computer memory, as well as other mediums specified under law.

Are records that are kept or owned by a consultant to TSTC subject to the Act?

The fact that a private entity may own or retain a record does not prevent the record from being subject to release under the Act.  For example, if a consultant maintains or holds records for TSTC, the documents are still considered public information if TSTC owns the information or has a right of access to it.

Do outside governmental agencies have a special right of access to TSTC records?

Outside governmental agencies whose function under state or federal law requires access to certain records generally have a right of access to such records.  The transfer of information to such outside governmental agencies is not considered a release to the public and would not constitute selective disclosure.

 

 II. What constitutes a Public Information Request?

To what TSTC officer must a request be directed?

Except in the case of faxes and e-mail requests, the Act does not require that the public direct its open records requests to any specific employee or officer.  A written request for information should be forwarded to the Coordinator of Records Management for handling.

For mail delivery:   Texas State Technical College

                            Attention: Jerry Sorrells, Coordinator of Records Management

                            3801 Campus Drive

                            Waco, Texas 76705

For fax delivery:  254.867.3927

For electronic mail delivery: jerry.sorrells@systems.tstc.edu 

Who can I contact at TSTC if I have general questions about the Texas Public Information Act?

Jerry Sorrells, Coordinator of Records Management, at 254.867.3922.

What is TSTC’s duty to respond to e-mailed or faxed requests for copies of records?

TSTC has a duty to respond to any written requests for records, including those that are made through e-mail or by fax.  However, state law provides that TSTC can designate a person that is authorized to receive e-mail or faxed requests.  If TSTC makes such a designation, the Public Information Act is only activated if the request is directed to the designated individual.  If TSTC has not made such a designation, the e-mail or faxed request can be directed to any employee or officer.  Pursuant to Section 552.301(c), Government Code, the Coordinator of Records Management has been designated to receive all electronic mail and fax requests for public information.  TSTC is not responsible for responding to electronic mail and fax requests sent to any electronic mail address other than the email address for the Coordinator of Records Management cited above.

What is TSTC’s duty to respond to verbal requests for copies of records?

State law allows TSTC to require that all requests for copies of records be made in writing.  The Act is only activated by a written request for documents.  However, if TSTC provides copies of records upon verbal request, TSTC must be consistent in its treatment of all requestors.  In other words, if TSTC does not require a written request from certain individuals, it should not insist on a written request from others.

How much does it cost to obtain copies of TSTC records?

Charges for copies of public information are set by the Office of the Attorney General.  In general, if the number of copies in your request is less than 50 pages, the charge will be $.10 per page plus the cost of postage.  If the number of copies is more than 50 pages, the charge will be $.10 per page plus personnel costs necessary to compile the documents and postage.  If the charge for fulfilling your request exceeds $40, TSTC will provide you with an itemized written estimate of the charges and indicate if a less costly alternative is available.  You must respond in writing within 10 days after the estimate is sent that you will accept the costs or you desire any stated alternative, or your request will be withdrawn.  If the estimated charge is more than $100, TSTC will require a prepaid deposit or bond before providing the information. 

 

 III.             Administration of Requests for Public Information

How much time does TSTC generally have to comply with a request for information?

TSTC must ‘promptly’ produce the public information.  There is often a misconception that the Act requires copies of public information be produced within ten (10) days upon receipt of the written request.  The Act states that all requests must be handled with good faith and must be accomplished within a reasonable time period.  What is considered reasonable and prompt will vary depending on the number of documents sought by the requestor.  In certain circumstances, the records can be produced in less than ten days.  However, requests for a substantial number of documents may take several weeks to produce.  If it will take TSTC longer than ten business days to produce the records, TSTC must certify that fact in writing to the requestor.  In the notice, TSTC must indicate a set date and hour within a reasonable time that the information will be made available for inspection or duplication.

When is TSTC under a timing deadline to take a particular action when handling a request?

The amount of time TSTC has to produce copies of records will vary depending on the amount of information requested.  However, there are several situations that present a timing deadline for TSTC to take a particular action when handling a request. 

  1. Notice to requestor that TSTC needs additional time to produce records: If TSTC is unable to produce a requested record within ten business days for inspection or for duplication, TSTC must certify that fact in writing to the requestor and set a date and hour within a reasonable time that the information will be available for inspection or for duplication.
  2. Notice to requestor that TSTC needs additional time to produce records that are in active use or in storage: If TSTC needs additional time to produce a record because it is in active use or because it is in storage, TSTC must notify the requestor of this fact.  This notice must be given within ten business days of TSTC’s receipt of the request for documents.  The notice must set a date and hour within a reasonable time that the information will be available for inspection or duplication.
  3. Notice to requestor of programming or manipulation costs:  TSTC must provide a statement that
    1. The information is/is not available in the requested form;
    2. A description of the form in which the information is available;
    3. A description of any contract or services that would be required to provide the information in the requested form;
    4. A statement of the estimated cost of providing the information in the requested form as determined in accordance with the rules under §552.262; and
    5. A statement of the anticipated time required to provide the information in the requested form.  Generally, this notice must be provided to the requestor within 20 days of the receipt of the request.
  4. Request by TSTC for a ruling from the Attorney General: If TSTC plans to withhold certain documents or information, it usually must request an Attorney General’s ruling on the ability to withhold such information.  The written request for an AG ruling must be made within ten business days of the receipt of the request.  However, the ten-day deadline is tolled during the time that TSTC and the requestor are actively clarifying the scope of information requested.
  5. Notice to requestor that TSTC sought an Attorney General ruling: TSTC must give written notice to the requestor if TSTC seeks an AG ruling on the request.  This notice must be given within ten business days of receipt of the request for documents.
  6. Notice to Person or entity with proprietary interest in information of Attorney General ruling request: If a request may result in the release of proprietary information, TSTC must make a good faith attempt to notify the person or entity that had such an interest in the request.  TSTC must send the written notice within ten business days of the date the original request was received.  This notice must include a copy of the request for information and a statement that the person is entitled to submit a letter, brief, or memorandum to the AG in support of withholding the information.  The notice must inform the person that the briefing must state each reason the person has as to why the information should be withheld and the legal rationale supporting such an assertion.  Any briefing by a person with proprietary interest must be provided within ten business days from the date the written notice from TSTC is received.

When is TSTC required to ask for a ruling from the Attorney General?

Some of the information maintained by TSTC may contain information that is not public, such as the following: 

  1. Student information/ records;
  2. Medical information/records;
  3. driver’s license and motor vehicle information;
  4. attorney-client communications;
  5. attorney work product;
  6. documents made confidential by statute;
  7. documents claimed to be proprietary by a third party.

If you want to review or get copies of the non-public information listed above, it will be necessary for TSTC to request an AG opinion about this information.  This non-public information will not be available for review until after the AG makes a decision about whether the information is public or not public.  The AG has about 12 weeks to make a decision on whether the information is public or not public.  If part of the information you requested is considered public information then you will be able to review or get copies of the public information, even if a request for an AG opinion is necessary regarding the non-public information.  If public information and non-public information are both included in a single document, the document will be provided to you.  However, the information believed to be non-public will be redacted (marked out) while the request for an AG opinion is pending.

What procedures must be followed if TSTC wishes to withhold information?

Within 10 business days of receiving a written request, TSTC must:

  1. write the AG asking for a decision and state which exceptions apply to the requested information;
  2. provide the requestor with a written statement that TSTC wishes to withhold the information and that it has asked the AG for a decision;
  3. provide the requestor with a copy of TSTC’s correspondence to the AG; and
  4. make a good faith attempt to notify, in the form prescribed by the AG, any affected third parties of the request.

Within 15 business days of receiving a written request, TSTC must:

  1. Write the AG and explain how the claimed exceptions apply;
  2. provide a copy of the written request to the AG;
  3. provide a signed statement to the AG stating the date the request was received by TSTC or provide evidence sufficient to establish the date the request was received; and
  4. provide copies of the documents requested or a representative sample of the documents to the AG and the documents must be labeled to show which exceptions apply to which parts of the documents.




link to TSTC home page link to information request form link to Spanish translation