Axios Austin

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It's Monday.

☁️ Today's weather: Cloudy with a high near 84.

🎂 Happy birthday to our Axios Austin members Paige Warmus and Rhonda Dirvin!

💸 Situational awareness: Your taxes are due today.

Today's newsletter is 935 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Texas-sized chip investment

A series of Samsung chip modules. Photo: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden this morning announced $6.4 billion in grants to Samsung for the South Korean company to expand chip production in the Austin area.

Why it matters: The massive Biden-led investment in chip production aims to reduce dependence on China and Taiwan.

The preliminary agreement with the Commerce Department "will unleash over $40 billion in investment from Samsung, and cement central Texas's role as a state-of-the-art semiconductor ecosystem, creating at least 21,500 jobs and leveraging up to $40 million in CHIPS funding to train and develop the local workforce," the White House announcement says.

Zoom in: The agreement includes an existing site in Austin and a new chip manufacturing hub in Taylor, a charming town about 35 miles to the northeast.

  • "Aside from manufacturing chips, Samsung will now construct a research and development facility in Taylor as well as an advanced factory for packaging them, the final step before semiconductors can be used in electronic systems," the N.Y. Times reports.

What they're saying: The subsidies will "improve our economy and jobs and manufacturing here in the United States ... rather than China or in countries vulnerable to the current threat from China," U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, a Republican who represents parts of Austin, said last year.

The big picture: The announcement positions Central Texas, already home to key chip-making facilities, as a 21st-century manufacturing hub.

2. FAFSA filings down as deadline looms

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Today's the deadline for Texas high school seniors to apply for federal student aid for a shot at the best possible financial aid package from colleges.

  • But far fewer students have submitted the form this year than in past years as delays and glitches plague the process.

Why it matters: Because the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process is working so poorly, some students face the possibility of choosing a college without knowing whether they'll be able to afford it.

How it works: This is the third academic year that Texas high school seniors are required to fill out the FAFSA.

  • The form is how the federal government, states and colleges determine financial aid eligibility.

State of play: The new version of the form was supposed to streamline the notoriously difficult process and expand aid eligibility — but its rollout has been disastrous.

  • The U.S. education secretary sent a letter to governors last week, asking them to adjust state financial aid deadlines, budget for potential state grant aid increases and ensure relevant agencies can process aid efficiently.

Threat level: The issues have led to delays in processing financial aid offers, complicating college decisions.

What they're doing: The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is monitoring the situation, but officials haven't decided to push the deadline back for a third time, spokesperson Mike Eddleman tells Axios.

By the numbers: 40% of Texas seniors had completed the application as of March 29, according to the National College Attainment Network.

  • At the same time last year, nearly 60% had done so.

Flashback: Texas' high school class of 2023 left $443 million in Pell grants on the table, per NCAN.

Go deeper

3. 🤠 The Roundup: Wrangling the news

Scottie Scheffler poses with the winner's trophy after the final round of Masters Tournament in Georgia on Sunday. Photo: Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

⚽️ Having lost 1-0 yesterday to St. Louis, Austin FC now has a record of two wins, three losses and three draws. (Associated Press)

⛳️ Former Texas Longhorn Scottie Scheffler cruised to a four-shot victory in the Masters golf tournament, winning a $3.6 million prize. (Yahoo Sports)

🏛 Some Williamson County residents are renewing calls to remove a Confederate monument from the grounds of the county courthouse. (CBS Austin)

🤖 Walmart will use robotic forklifts furnished by an Austin start-up. (TechCrunch)

Quote du jour

"I don't know if I'll be able to finish it, but the attitude that I'm taking is no plan B."
— Austin athlete Bill Corrigan, who is competing in Boston today in his final marathon, on a handcycle, two years after being diagnosed with ALS. (Texas Standard)

4. Social calendar

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Here's what we have eyes on this week.

🧵 Hone your constellation embroidery skills at the Crafty Adult session at the Austin library's Little Walnut Creek Branch, 5:30-7:30pm tonight. Free.

🎼 Catch the Alternative Improvisation Music Ensemble at KMFA's Midday Concert Series at noon Tuesday at the Draylen Mason Music Studio. Free.

🎹 Check out the post-punk group Soft Kill at the Parish on Tuesday at 8:30pm. $17.

🤣 Laugh with Chicago-based comic Ken Flores at the Stateside at 9:30pm Wednesday, part of the Moontower Comedy Festival. $38.

👗 Gaze at the latest in Austin couture at the Emerge runway show of Austin Fashion Week at the Domain at 8pm Thursday. Tickets start at $50.

5. Invest in Local Journalism

Illustration: Andrew Caress/Axios

Quality journalism is essential for a thriving community.

Support local journalism by joining Axios Austin as a member.

  • For $50+ a year, you'll gain access to exclusive insider notes and help us expand our coverage of the issues that matter most to you.

Together, we can make a difference in keeping our community informed and engaged.

Thank you for your consideration.

6. 🦇 1 bat in the apartment to go

Careful of the crawling bat. GIF created from video sent in by an Axios Austin reader.

An Axios Austin reader recently shared with us a video he took of a bat that made its way into his apartment in the Austonian.

  • We like the bit where it appears to creepily crawl on its wings.

What happened next: The reader — who asked us to withhold his name — was able to shoo it out the front door and into the hallway, where, evidently, it became someone else's problem.

  • No word on whether it ever found its way out of the building.

Be smart: If a bat flies into your home, and no one has been in contact with it, open doors and windows, turn off lights and ceiling fans, close doors to other rooms — and wait for it to leave, per Austin-based Bat Conservation International.

  • If the bat doesn't leave — or there's more than one — call a professional to remove it. If you have been in contact with it, the nonprofit recommends calling your county health department.

Thanks to Chloe Gonzales for editing and Kate Sommers-Dawes and Yasmeen Altaji for copy editing this newsletter.

😱 Asher istrue story — remembering the time a bat flew into his brother-in-law's mouth.

🔧 Nicole is dealing with a leaky sink.