Step right up and get your $10,000 college degree in Texas!

by Grace
English: Seal of Texas

Image via Wikipedia

Speaking today on a SXSWEdu panel in Austin, officials from a few Texas community colleges and universities said that $10,000 bachelor’s degrees are available now — and more will be within the year.

Gov. Rick Perry famously called on the development of a $10,000 degree in his State of the State address in 2011. The proposal met with criticism at the time, but Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Chairman Fred Heldenfels said it was misunderstood. “It’s not intended to be a bargain degree,” he said, offering the metaphor of a no-frills, rapid-rail route rather than an ocean-going cruise.

Going with that metaphor, I can see the value of foregoing the luxury cruise ship’s elaborate dining options and luxurious spa pampering if it means getting to the same destination at a lower price.  If it’s done right, a no-frills $10,000 college degree can be equivalent to a $200,000 traditional five-year campus party in terms of core learning.

Here’s a glimpse of how it’ll be done.

… “shredded e-textbooks,” electronic books that can be broken up according to what content is needed and downloaded at low cost

… competency-based learning — allowing students to advance once they have proven mastery of a subject rather than requiring them to sit through a predetermined amount of classes for course credit

… students may begin college coursework during their junior year of high school. After graduation, they must complete one year of community college and then transfer to Texas A&M, San Antonio to finish

The $10,000 plan so far includes bachelor degrees in business administration, information technology with a focus on cybersecurity, and applied science in organizational leadership.

Aggie envy in Texas Tech-land

Now that the Aggies have shown it can be done, we’re betting the Red Raiders and others will quickly demonstrate how it can be done better.

Let the race begin.


2 Responses to “Step right up and get your $10,000 college degree in Texas!”

  1. Perhaps the high school coursework will not be AP classes. Maybe the were able to create alternative courses that pertain this particular major. I’m just speculating, because I’m not familiar with the types of classes needed for that major. Now for the other two majors, which are also in the works, it is easy to imagine high schoolers taking “college-level” business courses. Since it appears we already have a dumbed down curriculum for many majors, I don’t know that these new options will erode the level of rigor much more than already has happened.

    The other thing is that with traditional costs so high, I can see that these new alternatives will attract smart students who are simply priced out regular 4-year programs. Based on some other things I’ve read, I think that’s what people are counting on.



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