“A clever political move”

Calling it “a clever political move,” the San Antonio Express-News editorial board criticized state lawmakers for turning tuition-setting authority to regents, saying Texas parents have lawmakers to thank for higher tuition bills this fall. “State lawmakers know they can shortchange higher education because the university boards will feel obligated to make up the difference with tuition. An added bonus of the arrangement is that it allows the regents, appointees of the governor, to take the heat off elected officials, who can claim no direct involvement in the rising cost of a college education. But, in truth, cutting state funding for higher education directly causes tuition increases. Denial is a sham, and pointing fingers at regents is an evasion of responsibility.”

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Implosion

A longhorn and leading former member of the Trump Administration is being considered to head The University of Texas System, according to media reports. Rex Tillerson, who was ousted as Secretary of State just two weeks ago, is “open” to the idea of becoming the next UT System Chancellor per a Wall Street Journal report. Tillerson gave a farewell address at the State Department this week and his final official day on the job is March 31. Chancellor Bill McRaven will step down as Chancellor in May. “Rex is a solid citizen, very ethical, straightforward, and straight talking,” said ExxonMobil general counsel Charles Matthews to Texas Monthly. “He brings great integrity to whatever he does, and if he were chosen he would be a very, very solid choice.”

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A Powerful Channel

Texas A&M spent nearly $300,000 in counterprogramming to respond to a visit to its campus last year by white supremacist, Richard Spencer. “Knowing that the world would be watching this event at Texas A&M University created the challenge of allowing open dialogue under a heavy security presence but also provided an opportunity for us to demonstrate Aggie values …” said Kelly Brown, a university spokeswoman. The university used “discretionary funds” for a rally that was intended to divert attention from Spencer’s event, demonstrating how “difficult — and expensive — it can be for schools to respond to controversial speech on their campuses.”

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An act of kindness ...

Last week was Primary week in Texas, and while many races were decided on March 6, more than 30 races will go to a May 22 runoff. The Texas Tribune has the rundown of what happened in the primaries here. One race many higher education watchers had their eye on was that of Kel Seliger, the Chair of the Senate Higher Education Committee, who avoided a runoff by less than 350 votes. Since House Speaker Joe Straus announced his retirement, not only is his seat in the Legislature up for grabs (contenders Matt Beebe and Steve Allison will face each other in the May runoff), Straus’ position as Speaker, which is decided by the Members in January, is also open. Thus far, three candidates have emerged – Tan Parker, Phil King and John Zerwas.

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We Have Your Back

A New York Times piece featured UT Austin’s progress in increasing graduation rates through a series of innovative programs and the use of predictive analytics that build a “we have your back” community of support for students who may otherwise struggle to succeed. The University is forecasting it will hit its goal of graduating 70 percent of students within four years “helping to make room for more than 1,000 additional freshmen. Even more impressive, the gap between the campus-wide four-year graduation rate and the rate for low-income, black, Latino and first-generation students has been cut in half.”

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Latest Updates

  • “A clever political move”

    Calling it “a clever political move,” the San Antonio Express-News editorial board criticized state lawmakers for turning tuition-setting authority to regents, saying Texas parents have lawmakers to thank for higher tuition bills this fall. “State lawmakers know they can shortchange higher education because the university boards will feel obligated to make up the difference with tuition. An added bonus of the arrangement is that it allows the regents, appointees of the governor, to take the heat off elected officials, who can claim no direct involvement in the rising cost of a college education. But, in truth, cutting state funding for higher education directly causes tuition increases. Denial is a sham, and pointing fingers at regents is an evasion of responsibility.”

    Continue reading
  • Implosion

    A longhorn and leading former member of the Trump Administration is being considered to head The University of Texas System, according to media reports. Rex Tillerson, who was ousted as Secretary of State just two weeks ago, is “open” to the idea of becoming the next UT System Chancellor per a Wall Street Journal report. Tillerson gave a farewell address at the State Department this week and his final official day on the job is March 31. Chancellor Bill McRaven will step down as Chancellor in May. “Rex is a solid citizen, very ethical, straightforward, and straight talking,” said ExxonMobil general counsel Charles Matthews to Texas Monthly. “He brings great integrity to whatever he does, and if he were chosen he would be a very, very solid choice.”

    Continue reading

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