The House Committee on Higher Education has submitted its interim report to the 87th Legislature. Recommendations cover implementation of legislation, campus infrastructure, 60x30TX, and online education. For more information see the full report.

Spotlight on Recommendations

Charge #1 – Monitor measures passed in the 86th Legislature

  • Monitor HB 449, HB 1735, SB 212, SB 18, and SB 16 and see if any adjustments need to be made
  • Build upon dual credit programs and transferability guidelines embraced in HB 1638 and SB 25
  • Review reports made by the forthcoming Higher Education Coordinating Board in order to properly inform legislative action

Charge #2 – Current and future campus infrastructure

  • Low interest rates call for investment in Tuition Revenue Bonds to the expand capacity of our schools and renovate our aging campuses across the state
  • Pass robust Tuition Revenue Bond measure to fund construction and maintenance projects at our institutions of higher education

Charge #3 – Evaluate progress towards the goals of the 60x30TX plan

  • More focus should be given to adult learners and “identifying and prioritizing” high-value credentials
  • Expand financial aid to allow more Texans to obtain post-secondary degrees or credentials
  • Consider additional investments in the AdviseTX programs to take a more strategic approach to advising high school students who attend schools with low college-going rates
  • Evaluate the use of Open Educational Resources and consult with state agencies on ways to improve its use amongst students and faculty
  • Support the ongoing work of the Tri-Agency Workforce Initiative by creating more transparent data sharing and pathways to obtain credentials that lead to better jobs
  • Focus on items identified by the Initiative to support student success including but not limited to broadband access, counseling and advising, early child care, financial aid, and internship/work study opportunities
  • The Legislature should consider action to increase work-based learning opportunities, particularly for Texans who have completed some college but have not earned a degree
  • The Legislature should consider the creation of a Sunset-style commission to conduct a comprehensive examination of community college districts’ taxing jurisdiction, service areas and enrollment base to determine if any realignments are needed. This commission should conduct its work in 2021-2022 and present recommendations to the 88th Legislature

Charge #4 – Online courses and degrees in higher education

  • The Legislature should consider measures to ensure that students have access to adequate hardware, software, and high-speed broadband
  • The Legislature should consider creating a standardized vetting process for institutions of higher education with respect to technology systems to ensure they comply with FERPA, HIPPA, and institutional security and privacy standards
  • The Legislature should work with stakeholders to ensure that expanded use of online courses does not create new opportunities for cheating. Institutions of higher education must have strong controls in place to ensure academic integrity

Charge #5 – Monitor the State Auditor’s review of agencies and programs

  • The Legislature should continue to monitor the actions taken by institutions in their Corrective Action Plans and consider requesting an update from each institution that has not fully implemented its action plan
  • Since a Committee on Higher Education oversight hearing on audits conducted by the State Auditor’s Office was not possible this interim, the Committee should hold such a hearing during the 87th Legislative Session