Texas Student Success Council
About the Council
The Texas Student Success Council is a crucial part of an ongoing effort to increase postsecondary completion rates, particularly in community colleges around the state. The Council is comprised of state and field stakeholders representing education (K-16), business, non-profits and philanthropic groups and is fortunate to have the Chairs of the House and Senate Higher Education Committees, the Commissioner of Higher Education and the Chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission serving as Ex Officio members. Convened by Educate Texas and chaired by Dr. Richard Rhodes (President of Austin Community College), the Council serves to cultivate a receptive environment for reform and create momentum for scale.
To enhance collaboration among these sectors, the Texas Student Success Council was created in 2012 to help identify and mitigate policy and funding challenges that are barriers to student success. Over the last three years, the Council has built consensus and adopted recommendations that have informed policy around four priority areas:
- Transfer and articulation
- Outcomes Based Funding
- Other barriers identified as a hindrance to student success
Through working closely and collaboratively with a diverse group of stakeholders, the Council has contributed to the dialogue surrounding these critical issues for Texas students and institutions and is positively affecting student success. It has been highlighted by Jobs for the Future as a national best practice for this work.
Texas Student Success Council Members
Ex Officio Members
Commissioner Andres Alcantar
Texas Workforce Commission
Rep. Dan Branch
House Higher Education Committee
Commissioner Raymund Paredes
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
Sen. Kel Seliger
Senate Higher Education Committee
- Sen. Judith Zaffirini
The Texas Student Success Council Recommendations
Priority Area #1: Workforce
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board estimates that by 2020, 55% of Texas jobs will require some form of postsecondary education. To ensure Texas’ continued economic competitiveness, state policy conditions must support students’ ability to both enroll in and complete a postsecondary credential, be it a workforce certificate, associate or bachelor’s degree. These recommendations are aimed at addressing some of the key barriers related to creating those conditions.
Adult Basic Education
- Whereas the state currently only funds approximately three percent of the eligible population for adult basic education, we support the Texas Association of Community College’s recommendation that the state provide sufficient funding for adult basic education.
Bachelor’s Degrees in Community Colleges
Support the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s recommendations to:
- Authorize community colleges that meet criteria to have opportunities to establish new applied baccalaureate degrees in applied science and nursing programs with a demonstrated workforce need using a measured, phased-in approach.
- Legislation should direct the Coordinating Board, in collaboration with the Texas Workforce Commission, institutions, and local workforce development boards, to conduct a process each biennium to select three to five disciplines to study in applied science.
- Remove current limitation, maximum of five programs, on institutions now authorized to offer bachelor of applied technology degrees.
The HB 5 Workgroup is a subset of the Texas Student Success Council that identifies policy recommendations focused on incenting closer collaboration between high schools and community colleges.
Priority Area #2: Transfer and Articulation
Research conducted by the Community College Research Center indicates that 78% of Texas bachelor’s degree graduates have previously enrolled in a community college. As a result, Texas relies more heavily on two-year institutions to deliver undergraduate education than any other state. Additionally, though 81% of Texas community college students examined are enrolled in transfer programs, only an estimated 20% of them actually transfer, most of them without first earning an associate degree, despite the benefits of doing so. These recommendations are aimed at addressing some of the key barriers related to creating those conditions.
- Support the recommendation of the Texas Association of Community Colleges to require the use of the common course numbering system at all public institutions of higher education. This change will enhance the ability of students and college advisors to have a clear understanding of course transfer. Currently, all community colleges in Texas utilize the common course numbering system, but not all public universities do the same. (Note: UT Austin dissented on this recommendation and suggested that a feasibility study and cost-benefit analysis should be conducted on this topic)
- Support the recommendations of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to authorize the Board to develop CTE programs of study and require the Board to periodically review the fields of study to ensure continuing alignment with student interest and academic and industry needs.
Priority Area #3: Outcomes Based Funding
While it is critical that broad access to postsecondary education is maintained, far too few students ultimately complete a credential of value. For Texas to increase its attainment rate to a level that will enable continued economic success, state funding should incent institutions to prioritize both access and success.
- Support the recommendations of the Texas Association of Community Colleges and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board with regard to the continuation of student success points funding.
- Should the state move toward implementing outcomes based funding for universities, we recommend inclusion of a metric that incents cross-institutional collaboration to accelerate student progress toward credentials.
Priority Area #4: Other Barriers as Identified
The work and recommendations of this Council are designed to be supportive of and aligned with the work of the eight Texas Completes colleges to redesign student pathways. The Council also supports the work of the Texas Success Center to align, accelerate and advocate for practices related to college readiness, transfer and articulation and measuring and funding student success. As such, this priority area is intended to allow for flexibility in responding to that programmatic work.
New Mathways Project
- Support continued state funding of the New Mathways Project as requested in the legislative appropriation request of the University of Texas at Austin.
The policy statements of the Texas Student Success Council are intended to highlight the positions of this group that are aligned with its recommendations but do not require legislative action.
Transfer and Articulation
- Ensure alignment of student pathways from point of selecting an endorsement in the eighth grade through to completion of a postsecondary credential.
Other Barriers as Identified
College Prep Course
- To encourage statewide portability of the college preparatory course required by HB 5, we recommend that institutions of higher education agree to accept the commonly agreed to frameworks developed by the Texas Success Center.
- Support efforts of the Texas Education Agency, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and Texas Workforce Commission to align data systems to facilitate better information sharing about student mobility patterns into and through postsecondary education, including credential completion as well as the agencies’ efforts to fund and support the development of CTE Early College High Schools.
- The work and recommendations of this Council are designed to be supportive of and aligned with the work of Texas Completes to redesign student pathways and the work of the Texas Success Center to align, accelerate and advocate for practices related to college readiness, transfer and articulation and measuring and funding student success.
Finding Common Ground to Increase Community College Completion
Jobs for the Future recently studied the Texas Student Success Council and its work to support policy change to increase student success rates at community colleges.