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 and labor, as well as non-profits and philanthropic groups from across the state. 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 early 2012 to help identify and mitigate policy and funding challenges that are barriers to student success. Over the last two years, the Council has built consensus and adopted recommendations that have informed policy around issues, such as outcomes-based funding, transfer and articulation and competency- based learning. 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 impacting student success.
Part of the Council's charge is to help identify and mitigate policy and funding challenges that are barriers to student success. The Council's three policy focus areas are:
- Transfer and Articulation;
- Outcomes-Based Funding; and
- Additional policy barriers identified by colleges as a hindrance to student success.
In each of these areas, the Council will seek to adopt recommendations for institutional, state agency and legislative policy that are informed by the work of the colleges and the members' unique expertise.
Texas Student Success Council Members
Ex Officio Members
- Commissioner Andres Alcantar – Chair, TWC
- Rep. Dan Branch – House Higher Ed. Comm.
- Commissioner Raymund Paredes – THECB
- Sen. Kel Seliger – Senate Higher Ed. Comm.
- Sen. Judith Zaffirini
The Texas Student Success Council Recommends That:
1. The reverse transfer credit threshold should be reduced from 90 semester credit hours to 66.
- This change would more closely aligns the policy with the number of hours required for an Associate's degree, and put the power in the hands of students to make the most informed choices possible about degree attainment, whether Associate's or Bachelor's.
2. The use of the Texas Common Course Numbering System be made mandatory for all public Texas institutions of higher education.
- While there are real challenges posed by implementing and maintaining a common course numbering system, such a policy would be consistent with the Council's goal of creating more streamlined pathways for students to completion.
3. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board shall implement field of study legislation (Education Code, 61.823), and urges the Coordinating Board to seek the necessary resources to refine and implement a sustainable tuning process for all fields of study, to be completed within five years.
- "Tuning" is a faculty-driven process that identifies what a student should know and be able to do in a chosen discipline when a degree has been earned - an associate's, bachelor's or master's. Because this process brings faculty together to develop pathways by field of study, it enhances the common course numbering system and is a mechanism for the changes needed to keep that system current.
4. 10% of community college state funding should be allocated based on outcomes, with the metrics as recommended by the Texas Association of Community Colleges, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and the Texas Association of Business, with remaining differences reconciled.
- Measuring and funding success creates incentives and mechanisms so that institutions of higher education focus more heavily on student success.
5. An outcomes based funding metric should be recommended for universities that would allocate a point for admitting students transferring in with an Associate's degree.
- While the metrics should be as clear as possible, this creates incentive for collaboration between community colleges and universities to streamline the transfer process and is a win for the student (particularly low income students), the community college and the university.
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.