“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.”
 
The UT System recently released earnings and student loan data in a first of its kind partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau. “The milestone data tool publishes the average salaries of graduates for every major at seven of UT’s academic institutions — and the median amount of loans a student has to pay back.” Chancellor McRaven said the project “will provide university leadership important insights on the performance of their graduates in the workforce.” At a “Marketable Skills Conference” hosted by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Texas Workforce Commission today, university leaders from across the state will continue a conversation about helping ensure Texas students college and career readiness. The conference is being held at The University of Houston and meeting materials can be downloaded here.
 
A follow-up story to a recent report by the Texas Tribune about how Texas punishes those who default on student loans by revoking professional licenses (teachers, nurses, etc.), highlighted how lawmakers plan to take up in 2019. “Next session the Legislature needs to address this issue head on and ensure that Texans who can’t pay student loans aren’t further crippled by government actions,” the conservative House Freedom Caucus, chaired by state Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler, said in a statement Tuesday. “Students should be responsible for repaying their debts, but taking away one’s ability to earn money in a licensed profession only exacerbates the problem.”
 
The Texas A&M System this week severed ties with the Chinese government organization Confucius Institute at the urging of Texas Congressmen, Michael McCaul and Henry Cuellar. The bipartisan duo issued a joint statement calling the organization a “threat to our nation's security by serving as a platform for China's intelligence collection and political agenda” and saying they have “a responsibility to uphold our American values of free expression, and to do whatever is necessary to counter any behavior that poses a threat to our democracy.” Several other Texas institutions are reviewing their agreements with the organization, which helps fund Chinese language and culture courses. A recent report found, however, that the Chinese government has “unparalleled control over the classes they provide.”

Week of April 9, 2018

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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