Higher Education

Abbott Nibbles at the Policy Margins

Feb 17, 2015 By R.G. Ratcliffe

In the bright new day of Governor Greg Abbott, Texas and her people are strong and getting stronger, but his State of the State address only polished the edges on some of the major challenges facing the state.

The Creation of Baylor

Oct 21, 2014 By Tom Bartlett

Never has the Waco university been so big, so rich, so athletically powerful, or so committed to becoming the country’s first elite Protestant university. What does its ambition mean for its identity?

An Opera in El Paso By Way of Bhutan

Aug 25, 2014 By Rachel Monroe

An unusual production of Handel’s English-language opera “Acis and Galatea” is the latest expression of a century-old link between the University of Texas at El Paso and the Himalayan kingdom.

Tuition Increases at Texas A&M

Jan 30, 2014 By brian sweany and Paul Burka

UPDATE: I spoke with a friend and high-ranking official at Texas A&M who reminded me that the Aggies have the lowest tuition of any school in the prestigious Association of American Universities. The news from Texas A&M that the board of regents is contemplating an increase in tuition and fees…

The battle over UT

Sep 20, 2012 By Paul Burka

I wrote the cover storyin the current issue of TEXAS MONTHLY. The subject is the future of higher education generally and the threats to the academic reputation of UT-Austin in particular. In the story I deal with Governor Perry’s attempt, starting in 2008, to control higher ed by…

Is Fisher moot?

Sep 19, 2012 By Paul Burka

The case of Abigail Fisher v. the University of Texas at Austin, an affirmative action case involving undergraduate admissions to UT-Austin, is scheduled to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court some time this fall. I wrote about the case in an April BTL, and last night, I…

R.G.’s Take: Perry Gets His Way Again

May 26, 2011 By R.G. Ratcliffe

Oh, ye liberals, Democrats and college professors, weep. There is no doubt now that the man you love to hate – Governor Rick Perry – will be the biggest winner of the 82nd Legislature. Perry has gotten his way on almost every item on is legislative agenda and squeezed the state budget turnip until it bled. Perry is the flavor of the week nationally for the politicos and pundits looking for a candidate of principled policy and pizzazz to join the Republican presidential contest. And Perry’s biggest public relations flop of the session – meddling with higher education – hasn’t fazed him in the least. If you believe the higher education community and alumni and newspaper backlash to Perry’s support of Jeff Sandefer and his proposed “Seven Breakthrough Solutions” for university reform have prompted Perry to back off, think again. Sources close to the governor tell me that in either late June or July, Perry will unveil his own proposal for higher education reform. While the details are still being worked out, it is sure to contain his call for $10,000 undergraduate degrees, greater efficiencies in the teaching of undergraduates, teacher accountability and a potential rebalancing of instructional and research budgets with a goal of lowering the cost of a bachelor’s degree. Perry, in his Austin American-Statesman op-ed, said academia wants him to “butt out.” He’s not going to: “Our knowledge-dependent economy and you — the taxpayer footing the bills — deserve better.”

Tuition de-reg: Will it be an issue in the speaker’s race?

Nov 23, 2008 By Paul Burka

Here’s the problem for Tom Craddick. The House passed tuition deregulation in 2003 for one reason and one reason only: The speaker twisted Republicans’ arms to get the votes. Almost six years later, tuition and fees at Texas’s public university have risen by an average of 50%, according to Robert…