“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

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    Does Texas owe you $1,000? Since 1997, the state has incentivized the efficient completion of a bachelor’s degree by offering a $1,000 rebate for students who complete their degree in four years and take limited hours courses outside of their major. An Austin American-Statesman article on the incentive, however, found that many university students are unaware of the rebate. Institutions estimate how much they will dole out in rebates annually, and request those funds of the legislature. UT Austin awarded more rebates than any other university who responded to the Statesman’s inquiry. Students at all 37 of the state’s public institutions are eligible for the rebates.

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  • "Break a few molds"

    It’s graduation season for many institutions of higher education across the state. Here’s a look at some of the highlights from recent commencements. Texas A&M commissioned 138 Corps of Cadets members – the most from a graduating class in three decades – as Army officers at its commencement this year. UT Austin Distinguished Alum and Director of the Defense Health Agency, Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, M.D. led her alma mater’s commencement telling graduates “it is okay to break a few molds.” Jason Jenkins, a Texas Tech Outstanding Alumni winner and Senior Vice President of Communications and Community Affairs for the Miami Dolphins, encouraged Tech graduates to effect change in the “changing political and social climates” they are about to enter. The University of Houston released this video with highlights of its commencement featuring Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who admonished students to “live their life in such a way that whatever you receive from this university, your parents, from others, that you find a way to share it with someone else.”

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