"My next goal as governor is to reunite the Texas-Texas A&M football rivalry."

A poll released last week showed that “many Texans see merits to earning a college degree or certificate, believing that higher education has the potential to improve future salaries and quality of life.” This is a welcome finding considering recent national data showing support for public higher education has been on the decline. The poll, commissioned by WGU Texas, whose parent university is Western Governors University Texas, also found that “Texans have an overall positive view of state-run colleges and universities,” yet they are concerned with the lack of state investment in higher education.

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Courting Rick Perry

To underscore Texas’ role as a leading national academic and R&D powerhouse, the Texas A&M and UT Systems will both be competing for a contract to run the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The lab is the “birthplace of the nation’s nuclear arsenal and part of the portfolio overseen by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, a graduate of A&M.” Last month the UT System Regents approved moving forward on a bid, and this week the Texas A&M Board of Regents did the same. M. Katherine Banks, A&M’s vice chancellor and dean of engineering, will lead A&M’s effort. While she said the UT System didn’t respond to A&M’s overtures for a collaboration, she acknowledged the competition could be a good thing for the state. “This could double the chances that the state of Texas is represented on the winning team.” The $2.2 billion contract expires next September after federal officials said current operators (led by the University of California) “failed to earn high enough performance reviews.”

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Latest Updates

  • “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.”

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  • Implosion

    A longhorn and leading former member of the Trump Administration is being considered to head The University of Texas System, according to media reports. Rex Tillerson, who was ousted as Secretary of State just two weeks ago, is “open” to the idea of becoming the next UT System Chancellor per a Wall Street Journal report. Tillerson gave a farewell address at the State Department this week and his final official day on the job is March 31. Chancellor Bill McRaven will step down as Chancellor in May. “Rex is a solid citizen, very ethical, straightforward, and straight talking,” said ExxonMobil general counsel Charles Matthews to Texas Monthly. “He brings great integrity to whatever he does, and if he were chosen he would be a very, very solid choice.”

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