March 6, 2012
Ensuring affordable degree plans with meaningful results was the topic of a panel discussion led by Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp on Tuesday, March 6 at the 2012 SXSWedu conference.
Presidents of Texas A&M University System colleges, partnering colleges and regulators from around the state, including the Commissioner of Higher Education, Raymund Paredes, discussed the challenges state university systems face in providing affordable education options for the diversity of students served. Panelists included Fred Heldenfels, Chairman, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; Dr. Dan Jones, President/CEO, Texas A&M University–Commerce; Juan Mejia, Chief Academic Officer, South Texas College; Dr. Maria Ferrier, President, Texas A&M University–San Antonio; and Dr. Bruce Leslie, Chancellor, Alamo Colleges.
“The economy is demanding more from all of us, and higher education is no exception,” said Sharp. “Higher education must be guided by transparency and affordability. This starts at the top with administrators and flows down to individual students and classrooms. At The Texas A&M University System, we are listening.”
Recognizing higher education’s accountability to both students and parents, the expert panel provided updates on how the partnering universities and colleges are improving access, affordability and adaptability to control costs while improving the quality of education provided.
“The cost of higher education has been increasing faster than virtually any other sector of the American economy,” Paredes said. “This is an issue not only in Texas, but across the country.”
“Virtually every university in Texas and across the nation is looking for new ways to deliver more value,” Sharp added. “The Texas A&M University System is leading the way with innovative and collaborative methods that are proving successful, including the launch of affordable degree programs that begin at $9800. These programs include a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Tarleton State University, a Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Organizational Leadership offered through a partnership of Texas A&M University–Commerce and South Texas College, and a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Information Technology with an emphasis on Information Security offered through Texas A&M University–San Antonio and Alamo Colleges.”
These degree partnerships “combine career and technology education that’s now in shortage with academic preparation and rigor to allow students to successfully continue or complete their education for higher attainment and economic opportunity,” concluded Chairman Heldenfels.
About the A&M System
The A&M System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $3.3 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, seven state agencies and a comprehensive health science center, the A&M System educates more than 120,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. Externally funded research expenditures exceed $780 million and help drive the state’s economy.
Contact: Steven B. Moore