AUSTIN – The Texas Public Policy Foundation applauds Sul Ross State University, Southwest Texas Junior College, and the Texas State University System for their announcement today of another set of $10,000 bachelor's degree programs.
"The $10,000 degree is an innovation that combines quality with affordability," said Dr. Thomas Lindsay, director of the Center for Higher Education at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. "It's a recognition of economic realities, and we are encouraged to see more universities adapting to meet the needs of students, parents, and taxpayers."
The Texas State University System announced a partnership between Southwest Texas Junior College and the Sul Ross State University's Rio Grande College to create a "10K Scholars Program." This three-year program would deliver a $10,000 bachelor's degree in biology, chemistry, or mathematics for students who maintain at least a 3.0 GPA for their college coursework and complete at least 15 credit hours per semester.
"It's groundbreaking that universities are coming up with different models of how to meet the challenge of keeping a bachelor's degree below $10,000," Lindsay said. "We'll learn over time which models produce the best results."
With universities across the state meeting Gov. Rick Perry's challenge of producing degree programs that cost students no more than $10,000, Lindsay said that Texas may provide the model for the future of public higher education.
"Given that out-of-control tuitions and crushing student-loan debt are crises on a national scale, policymakers in other states can be expected to look to our example," Lindsay said. "There is no good reason that public colleges across America could not embark on a similar initiative. Nor is there a good reason not to start now."
Public universities that act now to address the challenges of cost and quality are improving their long-term viability, according to Lindsay.
"The advances in online learning and the broken cost structure of brick-and-mortar institutions will fundamentally remake higher education over the next several years," Lindsay concluded. "Universities that act now to shore up their value proposition – quality education at an affordable cost – will be better positioned to survive the upcoming shakeout."
Thomas K. Lindsay, Ph.D., is the Director of the Center for Higher Education at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin.
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