Back in Session
This week the Texas Legislature gaveled in the 83rd Legislative Session and higher education will be one of the top agenda items discussed, debated and legislated during this Session. Cost, accessibility and quality are all topics of discussion, as well as the potential appointment of 16 regents to Texas university systems. Texas, of course, isn’t the only state where higher education is a hot topic. The American Association of State Colleges and Universities this week issued a report on the “Top 10 Higher Education State Policy Issues for 2013.” The full report can be viewed here, but the issues range from state support to college readiness and online education. Many of these same issues continue to dominate discussions in Texas. The Coalition will continue to be a thoughtful voice in any debate on higher education as we have since our inception in June of 2011. We believe in the critical importance of both teaching and research, we promote quality in higher education, and we support university leaders who have demonstrated their commitment to a culture of excellence and continual innovation. We also support the efforts of those universities that are working to achieve Tier One status, which would bring additional research and development capabilities, and create jobs and economic opportunity throughout Texas. This legislative session we will champion those efforts to improve quality education for Texas students and criticize any so-called “reforms” that will undermine the quality and integrity of our universities, especially our Tier One institutions.
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Texas A&M plans to save $130 million through recommended changesAn administrative review of Texas A&M University conducted by the school's Leadership Steering Committee and carried out by a London-headquartered firm has identified more than $130 million in total funds available to be reallocated back into the university between 2015 and 2019. According to the LSC report, the savings will free up more than $13 million in annual recurring funds and almost $3.5 million in one-time funds for reinvestment into the university's main campus, Health Science Center and Galveston campus.Interim President Mark A. Hussey appointed the six-person leadership committee, chaired by Associate Provost for Strategic Planning Jose Luis Bermudez, in May to evaluate the comprehensive review commissioned by Chancellor John Sharp and carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Hussey stated in an email to A&M faculty and staff Wednesday that he accepted all recommendations made by the committee and will begin implementing them in the coming weeks.Continue reading
UT-Austin will admit larger ratio of top studentsBeginning in fall 2016, the University of Texas at Austin will automatically admit applicants in the top 8 percent of their graduating classes. For the past two years, those in the top 7 percent have been guaranteed admission. UT-Austin President Bill Powers confirmed the 8 percent automatic admission in a Sept. 9 letter to Texas Education Agency Commissioner Michael Williams and various lawmakers.Of the 12,379 high school admits into the 2014 freshman class, 8,979 were automatically admitted, according to estimates UT-Austin released to the Houston Chronicle. University staff could not estimate how many additional top students would be admitted in 2016. “We do anticipate a larger number of auto-admits when that change goes into effect in 2016, though there is no specific estimate,” said UT-Austin Director of Media Outreach J.B. Bird.Continue reading