AUSTIN – Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation published the paper, 2019-20 Legislature Update: Debunking the Top Myths Regarding Higher Education.

The paper, which the Foundation has updated and released for the past seven years, identifies and addresses prevalent misconceptions dominating the higher education conversation.

The paper’s author, Dr. Thomas Lindsay, director of the Center for Innovation in Education, offered the following statement:

“Sad to say, this updated research study testifies to the fact that too many Texas college students are paying too much, and learning too little. And not much is being done about it. This study demonstrates that Texas—and not simply Texas, but American—public higher education finds itself struggling with a three-fold crisis: (1) college is becoming increasingly unaffordable; (2) high tuitions are forcing students and their parents to burden themselves with historically high student-loan debt, and (3) 36 percent of students, after spending four years in college, demonstrate little-to-no improvement while in college in their capacities for critical thinking, complex reasoning, and clear writing.”

The 11 myths identified in this paper are:

  • Myth #1: Our public universities are fulfilling their constitutional obligation to protect the First Amendment on their campuses.
  • Myth #2: College tuition and student-loan debt have increased no faster than other goods and forms of debt.
  • Myth #3: The effort to craft a “$10,000 Degree” (Affordable Baccalaureate) Program is impossible.
  • Myth #4: Online learning is a fad that will never significantly change the face of higher education.
  • Myth #5: The public is satisfied with what colleges offer.
  • Myth #6: In Texas, tuitions had to rise to make up for state cuts in higher education.
  • Myth #7: Most students still attend four-year residential colleges and universities full time.
  • Myth #8: Federal education funds go to poor students.
  • Myth #9: Administrative costs have remained steady and have not contributed to skyrocketing tuitions and student debt.
  • Myth #10: Possessing a college degree guarantees you’ve learned something substantial.
  • Myth #11: A’s and B’s are a mark of distinction in college with C’s signifying average performance.