Creating Leaders, Encouraging Innovation, Promoting Excellence
The Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education is a group of concerned citizens who believe strongly in the power of higher education to transform lives, build our economy and shape Texas’ future. We believe a great university is an incubator of knowledge and creativity. It fuels discovery, and marries research with enhanced classroom teaching, learning, and hands-on experience. It also serves as an economic engine bringing in millions in research and development dollars, new businesses and industries, creating jobs and economic opportunity throughout Texas.
We believe we need to create high quality pathways to higher learning with partnerships linking the flagship universities with high schools, community colleges, technical schools and Tier One institutions, to ensure our educational system meets the diverse and growing needs of our population. In an increasingly global economy, future leaders must be challenged to think differently and consider the implications of diverse cultures, histories and traditions. Well-rounded and informed students are critical to keeping Texas and America competitive and attracting jobs and employers to our state.
Advocates for Texas' Future
The Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education is a group of volunteer advocates who believe the pursuit of knowledge must be a state and national priority. At a time when America’s ability to compete and lead the world is at risk, the research conducted, innovations developed, and resulting improved teaching at Texas’ higher education institutions are more important than ever before. We hope to advance a thoughtful, constructive and transparent dialogue around these important issues for all Texans.
Our Call to Action
The Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education was necessitated by the strong belief that there is a right way to improve higher education and that there is a wrong way that could have long-term damaging effects on our institutions of higher learning, our state's economy and on our future. Current recommendations being floated - from dramatically expanding enrollment while slashing tuition to separating research and teaching budgets, and seceding from a recognized and respected accreditation organization - are decidedly the wrong way. We believe our public university presidents and chancellors have earned our support with their ongoing commitment to a culture of excellence and continual innovation, while also working to cut operating costs and institute reforms. We also believe it is critical to regularly and openly evaluate the performance of our universities, and do so in a public and transparent way.
This website is intended to be a place for the latest news and information on the debate over high-quality higher education in Texas and for the exchange of open constructive dialogue about continued improvements.
The Next Spindletop?
A recent national survey found that international student enrollment is declining in the U.S. This echoes an earlier study by the Houston Chronicle, which found sharp drops in international enrollment at Texas institutions this fall. In fact, “applications to Texas' four-year public universities plummeted year over year by at least 10,000.” Among the contributing factors, according to the study, were the “social and political climate” in the U.S., as well as visa delays and cost. As reporter Lindsay Ellis noted, “International students pay way more money to attend state schools, boosting campus budgets amid uncertain state appropriations.”Continue reading
Tax Cuts, Med Schools & Trump Appoints a Texan
The tax plan unveiled in the U.S. House of Representatives this week includes a number of proposed changes to education tax credits, deductions and benefits that would impact Texans – and especially private universities in Texas with high-dollar endowments. According to a Dallas Morning News review, “schools like SMU in University Park, Texas Christian University in Fort Worth and Rice University in Houston — all with endowments of $1 billion or more — would feel a direct impact.” The schools would be subject to a 1.4 percent excise tax on their net investment income. “In 2014 alone, that trio [of private schools in Texas] would have taken a combined $6.8 million hit.” For students and families, the plan would impact tax credits associated with student loan repayments and would also fold three existing higher-education tax credits into one. The Washington Post published a detailed analysis of the key provisions impacting higher education.Continue reading