Higher Education in Texas Earns an Average Grade
AUSTIN, TX— The Institute for a Competitive Workforce’s “Leaders and Laggards” report gives Texas four-year institutions high marks of an “A” for efficiency, cost effectiveness, transparency and accountability. However, it gives average marks of a “C” for student access and success and meeting labor market demands.
The grades awarded for community colleges are lower in some categories. For student access and success the state’s two-year institutions earn a “D”. Community colleges do better in the marks for meeting the demands of the labor market, earning a “B”. They also earned a “B” in transparency and accountability and a “C” in efficiency and cost effectiveness.
The grades for the state as a whole weren’t impressive. Texas schools earned a “C” in policy environment and innovation in online learning, and an “F” in being open to new providers due to regulatory restrictions.
“I think that this report card opens up the opportunity to pass some needed reforms to the system, and it shows us exactly where we need improvement,” said Bill Hammond, President and CEO of the Texas Association of Business (TAB). “Low completion rates are hurting us, especially at the community college level. That’s why the state’s two-year institutions only earned a “D” for student access and success, and why our four-year institutions only earned a “C” in that category.”
One issue that TAB will push for to address the completion problem is partial outcomes-based funding for these institutions.
“I think if you tie as little as 10 percent of a school’s funding to increasing the number of students who leave with a degree or certificate that means something. Rather than just leaving with nothing, you will start to see an increase in the number of students completing degree programs, making them more likely to succeed in the labor market.” said Hammond. “Florida, for example, has partial outcomes-based funding for community colleges, and has a significantly higher completion rate than Texas community colleges (37 percent in Florida compared to 11.9 percent in Texas).”
You can view the Texas information and the full report here.
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Founded in 1922, the Texas Association of Business is a broad-based, bipartisan organization representing more than 3,000 small and large Texas employers and 200 local chambers of commerce.
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