Tuition is lower than peer av­er­age

Univer­si­ties

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - B Con­tact Ralph K.M. Haurwitz at 445-3604. Con­tact Farzad Mashhood at 445-3972. Twit­ter: @fmash­hood

More­over, the terms of 17 re­gents at the state’s var­i­ous pub­lic univer­sity gov­ern­ing boards are end­ing in the coming months, and the coali­tion hopes that the report will un­der­score the im­por­tance of good lead­ers. Re­gents are ap­pointed by the gov­er­nor, sub­ject to Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion.

Michael K. McLen­don pro­duced the study for the coali­tion while on the fac­ulty at Van­der­bilt Univer­sity in Ten­nessee and now is a pro­fes­sor of higher ed­u­ca­tion pol­icy and lead­er­ship at South­ern Methodist Univer­sity in Dal­las. He said Wed­nes­day that fed­eral data and na­tional stu­dent sur­veys show UT and A&M per­form “quite well” rel­a­tive to peer univer­si­ties.

“The value of the ed­u­ca­tional ex­pe­ri­ence that one has at th­ese two in­sti­tu­tions is high and ris­ing,” McLen­don said.

He ex­am­ined such bench­marks as stu­dent scores on col­lege-en­trance ex­ams, the num­ber of de­grees awarded, de­grees awarded in high-de­mand fields such as sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy, stu­dents’ level of en­gage­ment in their aca­demic stud­ies and stu­dents’ level of sat­is­fac­tion with the over­all ed­u­ca­tional ex­pe­ri­ence.

He also looked at tuition and fees.

UT charged stu­dents from Texas $9,418 in the 2010-11 aca­demic year, about $1,000 less than the av­er­age of 11 other pub­lic re­search univer­si­ties rec- og­nized as its peer group. A&M charged $8,387.

Six-year grad­u­a­tion rates at UT and A&M — 80 per­cent at both in 2010 — are about on par with those of peer schools, McLen­don found. But four-year grad­u­a­tion rates — 53 per­cent at UT and 46 per­cent at A&M — fall short. UT’s peer group av­er­aged 59 per­cent; A&M’s peers av­er­aged 57 per­cent. Both schools have an­nounced plans to raise grad­u­a­tion rates.

Both schools also are strug­gling to in­crease African-Amer­i­can en­roll­ment, which stood at 4.7 per­cent of un­der­grad­u­ates at UT in 2010 and 2.9 per­cent at A&M. The sixyear grad­u­a­tion rate — the only rate re­ported for that de­mo­graphic — was 66 per­cent at UT and 69 per­cent at A&M.

“This report con­firms what we know to be true — that UT Austin and Texas A&M pro­vide out­stand­ing ed­u­ca­tions,” UT Pres­i­dent Bill Pow­ers said in a state­ment. “The report also raises le­git­i­mate con­cerns — such as over four-year grad­u­a­tion rates and African-Amer­i­can en­roll­ment — that we share and are work­ing hard to ad­dress.”

Out­side Pease Ele­men­tary on Wed­nes­day, Larissa Swin­dle let out a laugh when she heard a teacher had told stu­dents there is no Santa.

“If a lit­tle kid asked me if Santa Claus is real, I would be be­holden to tell the truth. I guess that’s why I’m not a kinder­garten teacher,” said Swin­dle, the mother of a fifth-grader who doesn’t be­lieve in Santa. Hous­ton — Jack Brooks hounded government bu­reau­crats, drafted Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon’s ar­ti­cles of impeachment and sup­ported civil rights bills in a con­gres­sional ca­reer span­ning 42 years. But for most of the coun­try the South­east Texas politi­cian is frozen in a pho­to­graph, stand­ing over the left shoul­der of Jac­que­line Kennedy as Lyn­don B. John­son is sworn in as pres­i­dent.

Brooks died Tues­day at a Beau­mont hospi­tal af­ter a sud­den ill­ness. He was 89.

He was among the last links to an era when Democrats dom­i­nated Texas pol­i­tics and was the last of “Mr. Sam’s Boys,” pro­tégés of fel­low Texan and leg­endary 21-year Demo­cratic House Speaker Sam Ray­burn in the state’s con­gres­sional del­e­ga­tion.

He also was a con­tem­po­rary and sup­porter of John­son.

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