Who got "edged out"?

UT Austin announced this week that it was further tightening an already competitive admissions process, cutting off automatic admission to the top six percent of Texas public high school students. The change is in response to increased demand for entry into the institution – applications have increased from 38,000 in 2013 to 51,000 in 2017. “Under state law, at least 75 percent of the first-year, in-state students at the Austin flagship must be automatically admitted. UT sets the percentage annually to meet that requirement. The remaining applicants, including those from other states and abroad, are considered under a so-called holistic review that takes race, ethnicity, grades, essays, leadership qualities and numerous other factors into account.”
 
This week the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced a $35 million grant to form an engineering research center, “The Precise Advanced Technologies and Health Systems for Underserved Populations,” which will be based at Texas A&M, and jointly operated with researchers from Rice University, Florida International University and the University of California at Los Angeles. The work will focus on “improving health care for underserved populations in areas such as rural South Texas and urban Los Angeles and Miami.” In a separate NSF announcement, A&M will also be the beneficiary of $2.3 million in additional federal grant funding to “revolutionize engineering education.”
 
The new U.S. News and World Report rankings came out this week. While UT-Austin “edged out” SMU and Texas A&M University surpassed Baylor University, Rice remains Texas’ top-ranked school according to this ranking. It comes in as the 14thbest school in the nation – the only Texas school to enter the top 50. The entire rankings can be viewed in their entirety here.
 
As Harvey’s floodwaters recede, Texas is continuing to grapple with the impact of the storm on all aspects of life, including higher education. The Higher Education Coordinating Board estimates that “500,000 students are enrolled in Texas schools from counties affected by the hurricane.” The Houston Chronicle detailed what universities are doing to help students address concerns – from emotional trauma to issues with financing their education. “This is an unprecedented event,” said Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Commissioner Raymund Paredes, adding that he hopes students resist temptation to drop out to work. “We expect some impact (to graduation rates), but exactly what it will be, we don't know.”
 
This week, UT Austin President Greg Fenves gave the 2017 State of the University Address. He summed up the mission of the university this way: “We serve our community. We improve lives. We strive for progress. We transcend the status quo. Our efforts take time. They take investment. They take passion, imagination and creativity. But that’s what’s required of us as a leading flagship university, and we embrace the challenge.” His full remarks can be read here.

Week of September 19, 2017

Latest Updates

  • Man Eaters

    Last week The University of Texas System Board of Regents named James Milliken as the sole finalist for the role of UT System chancellor. Milliken is the former chancellor of the City University of New York. In a statement Milliken said he would “welcome the opportunity to play a lead role in advancing this system of outstanding universities in the 21st Century.” According to the Texas Tribune, “Larry Faulkner, who has led the system on an interim basis since the former chancellor, Admiral Bill McRaven, stepped down in May, is expected to keep his position until Milliken's appointment is finalized and he can begin the job.” Additional coverage of the announcement can be found in the Austin Business JournalHouston ChronicleInside Higher EdThe Eagle and the Daily Texan, among other publications.

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  • Texas Universities in Service to Our Country

    The University of Texas System is the proud new home base for U.S. Army Futures Command. The Command is a new entity and is part of a reorganization of the Army. It will be responsible for “coordinating modernization efforts and integrating innovation across the Army.” In making the announcement, the Pentagon indicated Austin was selected “because of its already-vibrant ecosystem of innovation, civic engagement and higher education, which includes UT Austin, one of the top-ranked research institutions in the nation,” according to the UT System.

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