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At an event in Killeen this week the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board unveiled progress toward the states’ 60x30TX plan, which “aims to ensure 60 percent of adults, ages 25 to 34, will earn a college certificate or degree by 2030.” The number of Texans with degrees or certificates currently is just under 40 percent. Increasing this number is critical to the state’s future as some “estimates have shown that 65 percent of all new jobs by the year 2020 will require postsecondary education and training beyond high school.”
 
The San Antonio Express-News editorialized about the plan, applauding progress, but encouraging more Texans to get actively involved “A skilled and educated workforce does not just happen. It is a united effort that requires support on many fronts. We can all play a role. It can be by supporting local school bond issues, casting ballots in school board races, mentoring and volunteering in schools, and supporting the local legislative delegation on tough budget votes when it comes to public and higher education.”
 
Texas A&M has enrolled 68,625 students this fall – more students than ever before. 62,527 of those students are on the main campus in College Station with the remaining students in satellite locations such as Qatar and Galveston. The school an increase in Hispanic and Latino applicants up from 13,130 in 2016 to 14,084 this semester. Texas A&M Director of Recruitment Lynn Barnes said of the growth, "The state of Texas, if you look at the census data, is changing … We, as a land-grant public university, want to change along with that and serve the students here in Texas by providing access. We are doing our best to reach out to any student who might want to come to A&M and there are a lot of great students who are taking us up on that offer and doing well here."
 
A new state law passed this spring will address the challenge of developmental education in Texas. Currently, many students enrolling in community college are forced to take remedial courses (which adds costs and time), because they are not academically prepared for college. "We have students walking in our door who are reading at a ninth-grade level," said San Jacinto College administrator Rebecca Goosen. According to the Texas Tribune, the law will “dramatically shake up how most community colleges prepare their students for the rigor of higher education.” “These students need advising, they need direction, and what we are doing now simply isn't working," said Rep. Helen Giddings, D-DeSoto, who authored the law, House Bill 2223.
 
This week the Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Kazuo Ishiguro. Ishiguro’s archives are available for students, researchers and the public at the Harry Ransom Center at UT Austin. “Ishiguro joins other Nobel laureates represented in the Ransom Center’s collections including Samuel Beckett, Pearl Buck, J.M. Coetzee, T.S. Eliot, William Faulkner, Gabriel García Márquez, Ernest Hemingway, Doris Lessing, George Bernard Shaw, Isaac Bashevis Singer, John Steinbeck and W.B. Yeats.”
 
The George H.W. Bush Library announced a 20th anniversary celebration turned benefit that will honor the victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria on the campus of Texas A&M University on Oct. 21. The Deep from the Heart: One America Appeal, will be headlined by Alabama, Lyle Lovett, the Gatlin Brothers and Robert Earl Keen among others and will be attended by all five living ex-presidents.

Week of October 8, 2017

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  • 221,420 Acres

    On this day in 1839, the Congress of the Republic of Texas set aside 221,420 acres to endow two universities, demonstrating the State’s early commitment to public higher education. Those two institutions would become Texas A&M University and The University of Texas at Austin. The rest, as they say, is history.

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  • On The Higher Ed Horizon

    “University leaders began this year [2017] expecting a bruising Texas legislative session, but they came out mostly unscathed. In many ways, the year will be remembered more for what happened on campus — not in the Capitol,” according to a roundup of higher ed news by the Texas Tribune. Funding, culture wars, tuition, #MeToo and Hurricane Harvey were just a few of the top stories that dominated headlines in 2017. With one week of 2018 under our belt, we’re already seeing a little more of the same – campus issues dominating higher ed headlines.

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