DEAR JEFF: If a student is undocumented but has lived in Texas most of their life, does he or she have to pay out-of-state tuition for college? Signed, “New Chapter”

Dear “New Chapter”: In 2001, Gov. Rick Perry signed a law into effect known as the Texas Dream Act.

Texas was the first state in the country to enact such a law. It provides that an undocumented student will be eligible for in-state tuition at a state college as long as they have lived in Texas for at least three years, have graduated from high school or obtained a GED, and are seeking citizenship or legal status.

DEAR JEFF: If I change my name, am I still legally responsible for debts in my old name? Thanks, “Just Curious”

Dear “Just Curious”: Yes, you are still responsible for debts you have incurred. One of the questions you will be asked when you change your name is whether the name change is an effort to defraud creditors.

Jeffrey Bates is licensed to practice law in the State of Texas, but is not board certified in any area of specialty by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

This column is meant for general information and educational purposes only, and neither this column nor the transmittal of a legal question via email constitutes the creation of an attorney/client relationship between the reader and Jeffrey Bates and/or Southern Newspapers Inc. For specific advice regarding legal matters affecting you, consult an attorney.

To submit a question, send it via email to, or via regular mail to Ask the Lawyer, 101 S. First St., Lufkin 75901, or call 639-2900.