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Board Sets New Higher Ed Goals for Texas

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The Texas Higher Education Coordination Board has set up a list of goals to close the educational achievement gaps of students.

One goal has to do with research funding. Higher Education Coordinating Board Commissioner Raymund Paredes says that goal has been acheived with federal funding for research doubling during the past five years. He says other areas still need work including improving the quality of higher education and upgrading basic research. The state has two, what are considered, flagship institutions and there have been efforts to increase the number of universities that are considered tier one. Paredes says the state will have to be creative since it’s working with limited resources.

For example, bringing together different campuses from around the state or a region. Another part of the initiative focuses on increasing the number of students going to college immediately after high school. Paredes is also calling on colleges and universities to focus more on undergraduate programs.

The University of Houston has set a goal of increasing the number of students from 56,000 to more than 70,000 by 2015. Ed Hugetz is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Planning and University Outreach at UH. He says they are reaching out to freshmen in an effort to improve graduation rates, but they are also asking students to do their part.

Houston Baptist University President Doug Hodo says efforts to close the achievement gap in higher education have to include the K through 12 grades and children’s families. Hodo says the benefits won’t be over night.

The Coordinating Board estimates to goals will cost $20 billion, but the return to the state could be as high as $100 billion.

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