In his State of the State address, Texas Governor Rick Perry puzzled his audience as he called on higher education institutions to create a $10,000 undergraduate degree to ease the financial burden on Texas families and students.
This idea of a $10,000 degree is a challenge, Perry acknowledges, but he believes it can be done.
“It is time for a bold, Texas-style solution to this challenge; the brightest minds in our universities can devise,” Perry said in his address to the State.
Perry suggests that universities implement more “web-based instruction, innovative teaching techniques and aggressive efficiency measures” in order to reach the goal of a $10,000 degree, which includes the cost of textbooks as well.
Perry claims the option of a more affordable college degree will serve as incentive for Texas students to enroll in and, more importantly, graduate from college.
According to The Project on Student Debt, 58 percent of college students who graduate from a public, four-year institution in Texas accumulate about $20,015 in debt. At UTSA, 64 percent of students graduate with roughly $23,000 in student loans. This heavy financial burden, according to the project, causes students to delay graduation dates. Thus, graduating from college becomes a goal that, each year, becomes more out of reach to students due to financial barriers.
The project also reports the main reason low-income, at-risk high school seniors choose not to enroll in college—to avoid accumulating debt. Urban school counselors report that the students’ “fear of debt strongly affects college students.”
Reesman also disagrees with Perry’s idea to implement more online classes. Incorporating more online classes to cut tuition costs would not be effective for two reasons.
First, online classes simply will not do much to cut costs, Reesman says. “Even if a university went completely online, which is a highly debatable educational idea, UTSA could never price a degree so sacrificed.”
Some Tier One universities in Texas also worry about the sacrifice. John J. Antel, provost at the University of Houston, reported to Hearst Newspaper’s online chronicle that the university “will not compromise on our long-term goal to build an internationally recognized research university… We must continue the momentum that has recently moved the university to Tier One