Texas Student Success Council

Texas Student Success Council

About the Council

The Texas Student Success Council brings together diverse stakeholders to advance and advocate policy that promotes increased postsecondary student success that prepares them to compete in the 21st century economy. Convened by Educate Texas and chaired by Dr. William Serrata (President of El Paso Community College), the Council is comprised of state and field stakeholders representing education (K-16), business and philanthropy, 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.

In order to increase postsecondary student success, the Council focuses on policies that create smooth, streamlined pathways into, through and among our institutions of higher education, through the following means:

  1. Improved K-12 and Postsecondary Linkages
  2. Portability of Credits and Credentials
  3. Stronger Education and Workforce Alignment


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:

  • Workforce
  • 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

• Armando Aguirre – Region 19 ESC
• Kim Alexander – Roscoe ISD
• HD Chambers – Alief ISD
• Danny King – PSJA ISD

Community College
• Jacob Fraire - TACC
• Steve Head – Lone Star College System
• Bruce Leslie – Alamo Colleges
• Joe May – Dallas CCCD
• Richard Moore - TCCTA
• Shirley Reed – South Texas College
• Richard Rhodes – Austin Community College
• William Serrata – El Paso Community College, Chair
• Greg Williams – Odessa College

• Guy Bailey – UTRGV
• Katie Brock – UT Austin
• Martha Ellis – National American University
• James Hallmark – Texas A&M University System
• Ray Martinez – Independent Colleges & Universities of Texas
• Brian McCall – Texas State University System
• Evelyn Waiwaiole – UT/CCCSE

• Tony Bennett – Texas Association of Manufacturers
• Angela Farley – Dallas Regional Chamber
• Miranda Goodsheller – Texas Association of Business
• Mark Milliron – Civitas Learning
• Justin Yancy – Texas Business Leadership Council

• Kristin Boyer - TG
• Charles Glover – Meadows Foundation
• Leslie Gurrola – Greater Texas Foundation
• Wynn Rosser – TLL Temple Foundation

Ex Officio
• Andres Alcantar – Texas Workforce Commission
• Raymund Paredes – Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
• Kel Seliger – Senate Higher Education Committee
• John Zerwas – House Higher Education Committee





The Texas Student Success Council Recommendations

K-12 & Postsecondary Linkages

Only 1 in 5 Texas eighth graders goes on to complete any postsecondary credential. According to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, 99% or 11.5 of the 11.6 million jobs created since the recession went to workers with some education beyond high school. If we are to ensure continued economic opportunity for all Texans, we must better align our school districts with their community college and university partners. These recommendations are aimed at encouraging stronger partnership at the local, regional and state level.

1. Encourage the creation of local/regional postsecondary readiness MOUs between school districts and higher education partners to:

a. Promote collaboration between faculty, school counselors and academic advisors and support the creation of common practices and terminology relating to college readiness;
b. Identify the pathways between the endorsements that are available to students in the school district and degree programs and fields of study relating to those endorsements that are available at the partnering college or university; and
c. Develop or identify tools based on the pathways identified for school counselors and academic advisors to assist students in selecting a suitable program of study.

2. Build a proactive, ongoing partnership among the TEA, THECB, TWC and other stakeholders to align the educational goals of Texas with the state’s higher education plan of 60x30TX.

Portability of Credits and Credentials

Texas taxpayers, students and families spend nearly $120 million on excess credits each year. Lack of alignment between our institutions of higher education results in increased time-to-degree and lower completion rates. These recommendations are aimed at addressing this by encouraging students to select an educational pathway early and by incentivizing colleges and universities to work more collaboratively to improve credit mobility. 

1. Require community college students to select a pathway (major or meta major) by 15 hours.

2. Should the legislature create performance funding for universities, the metrics should include a focus on supporting transfer and at-risk students.

3. Increase community college student success points for students completing 15/30/60 hours on a designated pathway (ie. Major, meta-major, workforce program).

4. Add a 10% bonus on the weight for upper division, undergraduate courses on only the undergraduate portion of the university instruction and operation formula (graduate and professional funding should not be impacted).

5. Incorporate ‘productive transfer college knowledge’ into existing activities and courses aimed at building ‘college knowledge’ to inform students of the importance of getting on a pathway early, particularly if they intend to transfer, and the consequences of delaying this decision. Incorporate these efforts into high school counseling, college prep courses, community college orientations, student success courses, and other activities.

Education and Workfoce Alignment

99% of the jobs created since the recession went to those with education beyond high school. To ensure Texas’ continued economic competitiveness and meet the goals of 60x30TX, the state should seek to promote the coordination of regional partnerships and collaboration between education and workforce partners. These recommendations are aimed at improving and deepening those connections.

1. Support increased funding for the JET Program and explore amending to consider giving larger grants or priority to grantees who commit to using labor market information and/or next generation career counseling and advising tools.

2. Support the expansion of high-quality, career-focused high school designs that prepare students for high-demand, high-wage careers and credentials.

3. Enhance the ability of school districts, community colleges and employer partners to incorporate into tax abatement agreements (ie. Ch. 313) work-based learning opportunities such as internships, externships for teachers, job shadowing, apprenticeships, release time for employees to mentor students, and other activities.

Policy Statements

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.

Policy Reports

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.

  Download the Full Report


For more information, contact Melissa Henderson at mhenderson@cftexas.org