Does Texas owe you $1,000?

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.

UT Austin and Texas A&M were both included in the top universities in the world, according to The Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings. UT Austin earned the number 36 spot on the list, while A&M is ranked between 71 and 80. The rankings are created “using the world’s largest invitation-only academic opinion survey,” which is described in this piece. Data on each institution can be found on this interactive site, which includes information on student populations, student teacher ratios, degrees offered, tuition and fees, and more.
 
On his final day as Chancellor of the UT System, Bill McRaven noted in his farewell message that it has been “the honor of a lifetime” to serve in the role. He thanked the Board of Regents, elected officials, System employees, and the presidents of the academic and health institutions who served alongside him. In a wide-ranging interview with the Texas Tribune, McRaven covered everything from his tenure at the System to what keeps him up at night. … “the thing that keeps me up at night is making sure that the state of Texas … and the nation is investing in our pre-K through 12 in a way that will put our young men and women in a position to be successful.”
 
“Changes to U.S. policy on Chinese visas may trickle down to college enrollment, officials warned, and Texas' schools may feel some impact.” That’s the lede of a Houston Chronicle story that showcases one byproduct of the shifting immigration policies of the Trump Administration. Chinese students are the largest group of international students at many Texas universities, and just second to India in overall foreign students in Texas with 8,400 enrolled last fall to India’s 12,600. Institutions have seen a decline in international enrollment overall, which “analysts attribute to U.S. degree costs, policy rhetoric unfriendly to foreign students and rising competition from other countries.”
 
A new state law that prohibits state universities from “contracting with or investing public money in companies that boycott Israel” has become entangled with the debate over free speech on college campuses in Texas. The Houston Chronicle highlighted the tension between the law and free speech advocates who say being forced to sign a contract not to boycott Israel infringes on First Amendment rights. State Rep. Carol Alvardo, a co-sponsor of the bill pledged to “re-evaluate the law next session.”
 
The Gates Foundation’s higher education project, Postsecondary Success, highlighted new research on American attitudes on higher education. The second annual Varying Degrees study by New America found “mixed views on performance and the need for change” among other results. “While a solid majority believes that education after high school is key for having a well-paying job, three-quarters of those surveyed also disagree with the notion that higher education is fine the way it is. When it comes to value, respondents voiced split views, giving higher marks to community colleges and public universities over private and for-profit institutions.”

Latest Updates

  • Cyber Warriors

    A special unit of the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets is focusing on digital national defense – training up the next generation of “cyber warriors” according to The Eagle. “The recent John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act designated all senior military colleges as cyber institutes that, according to the act, should offer programs to ‘provide future military and civilian leaders of the Armed Forces or the Department of Defense who possess cyber operational expertise from beginning through advanced skill levels.’” There are 47 cadets in the unit this year.

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  • “So far Texas has been incomparable.”

    “So far Texas has been incomparable.” That was how newly minted UT System Chancellor James Milliken reflected on his first two weeks on the job when he spoke recently at the Texas Tribune Festival. In discussing what he plans to bring to the role, he said: “The foundation of my philosophy about public higher education is that talent is equally distributed across every demographic—whether it’s wealth, race, ethnicity, nationality, or zip code.” A recap of the festival, which also featured conversations about higher ed policy by Texas lawmakers, can be viewed here.

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