Tuition is lower than peer average
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.