Gov. Rick Perry today underscored his commitment to higher education excellence, accessibility and affordability through an executive order to improve cost efficiencies across state higher education institutions.
"As stewards of taxpayer dollars, our universities must be mindful that the dollars they spend come out of the pockets of hardworking Texas families and students," Gov. Perry said. "While Texas continues to make great strides in higher education, we must build on our achievements to ensure students have access to the highest quality institutions and graduate ready to compete in a global economy."
The governor's executive order directs the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to work with Texas institutions of higher education to undertake a comprehensive review of system-wide opportunities for achieving cost efficiencies. The directive includes a review of state funding based on student course completion, restructuring the state's financial aid programs, consolidation or elimination of low-producing academic programs, faculty workload, transfer agreements between two and four year institutions, cost of instructional materials, and alternatives to creating new campuses through practices such as distance learning.
The executive order also directs the THECB to review higher education cost-saving measures implemented in other states and countries. The THECB report and cost cutting recommendations will be submitted to the governor, Legislature and public institutions of higher education by Nov. 1, 2010.
"As college students again fill our campuses and the state starts a new biennial budget, it's more important than ever to ensure Texas universities are on track to spend student and taxpayer dollars in the most efficient and effective way possible," Gov. Perry said.
This effort will further enhance the improvements made by Gov. Perry and Texas lawmakers during the 81st Legislative session, which include increasing financial aid for college students by $186.4 million, a 44 percent increase; modifying the top 10 percent automatic admissions law by capping the percentage of the entering freshman class at 75 percent; and promoting increased accountability for educators and greater transparency in course information for students during class registration. Gov. Perry and lawmakers also took important steps this session to help establish new and maintain existing Tier One universities in the state.