The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board met on October 25 to take up the agenda here. This report covers selected agenda Items pertaining to dual credit, college and career readiness, 60x30TX Plan, and reports made in preparation for the 86th Legislative Session.

This report is intended to give you an overview and highlight of the discussions on the various topics the committee took up. It is not a verbatim transcript of the hearing, but is based upon what was audible or understandable to the observer and the desire to get details out as quickly as possible with few errors or omissions. Due to technical issues with the video archive, portions of agenda items IV and V concerning dual credit were not able to be covered.


Agenda Item I Call to Order: Opening Remarks and Strategic Planning Presentation

  • Chair – noted the 29-30 Texas higher education leadership conference – 60X30TX how to get there – Austin airport Hilton
  • Commissioner Paredes – Reviewed the upcoming agenda, highlighting discussion to be had on 60X30TX, Dual Credit, Pipelines to Higher Education, transfer of credit, and low-cost baccalaureate degrees


Agenda Item I-B: Strategic Planning Presentation PPT


Ray Martinez, Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (ICUT)

  • Described ICUT as a nonprofit higher education organization
  • 126,586/1,532,500 enrolled students are enrolled at ICUT institutions
  • Offers variety of degree paths, both traditional and non-traditional, with multiple articulation agreements between 2 and 4-year institutions
  • Noted high diversity within ICUT institutions
  • Briefly discussed student debt and financial aid – compared favorable to other universities, 8 out of 10 undergraduates at ICUT institutions are receiving financial aide
  • Over 20,000 employees at ICUT institutions


Collette Burnett, Houston Tillotson University

  • Highlighted new admissions marketing strategy – had over 10% increase from the Austin area – had 7% growth in undergraduate enrollment
  • Discussed intensive advising to create and highlight guided pathways to completion
  • Have created a cutting-edge educator preparation program – partnered with manor ISD to recruit African American males to be teachers


Don Cristian, Concordia University

  • Highlighted affordable accessible degree pathways for students leading to a very diverse student population
  • Have implemented similar programs to those within 60X30TX as early as 1995
  • Part of the San Antonio/Austin Regional Transfer Compact Program
  • There is a need to think about how to do this differently across the whole sector
  • Launching degree programs that meet a market need and help
  • Chair – how do you recruit older students?
  • It was originally a lot of face to face, but now there are many avenues
  • Acosta – how do you find industry partners?
    • Christian – we have a dedicated staff to create those industry partnerships
    • Burnett – we have RAM Career Connections which has a career coach from the industry
  • Ferias – related to student debt – in the last decade gaps have been closed between ICUT and state institutions costs, that information needs to get out
  • Paredes – most of your members fit the model of the traditional liberal arts college, what are you doing within curricula that shows that you are dealing with the issue of preparing students for marketable jobs?
    • Christian – the goal is to be able to apply liberal arts skills into other industry areas, and translating those skills into the workplace
    • Burnett – have infused career skills are integrated into the academic work
  • Chair – thanked the panel for the presentation


Agenda Item IV Major Policy Discussion

Agenda Item IV-A: Major Policy Discussion PPT PPT2 PPT3 PPT4 Handout Handout2


Rex Peebles, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

  • 151,000 students enrolled in dual credit in 2017, and rose by almost 100,000 students from fall 2017 to spring 2018
  • Dual credit has been a positive force for student success
  • Need to take caution to ensure that dual credit continues to be successful and that students continue to be prepared and meet college readiness standards


*Due to technical issues, portions of Agenda Item IV and Agenda Item V were missed  


Agenda Item V Matters relating to the Full Board

Agenda Item V-A: AIR-THECB study on Dual Credit Education in Texas Report PPT

  • Steen – how is it that dual credit does not seem to make an impact on loan debt?
    • Troutman – we compared students that graduated in four years, with and with out dual credit, and did not find any significant savings. This is an area that needs more specific study.
  • Tran – advising is necessary and difficult to do with dual credit, should that responsibility fall on the high schools or on the colleges?
    • Troutman – there are many factors that make advising dual credit difficult and some universities so it better than others. The universities should be working with the high schools to better advise students
    • Miller – the majority of advising has been coming from high school advisors that feel a lack of preparedness to do that advising. There is a need to get college advisors involved earlier in the process
  • Plank – we are putting too much on the high school advisors, we need to at least give them better tools like a matrix, etc.
  • Stedman – Personally troubled by anecdotes of the lack of rigor in dual credit courses, this is an area that we need to investigate further
    • Peebles – dual credit is complicated and a focus on rigor needs to continue to be addressed. Students should be required to demonstrate college readiness to take dual credit courses
  • Stedman – thanked the panel
    • Miller – noted the completed dual credit study will be made available on the THECB website


Agenda Item VII Matters relating to 60x30TX and Innovation in Higher Education

Agenda Item VII-A: Matters Relating to 60x30TX and Innovation in Higher Education PPT PPT2 Handout


Jarel Booker, THECB

  • Noted that this is a standing agenda item to highlight innovations spurred on by the 60x30TX Plan
  • Discussed “Chatbot” – an artificial intelligence technology, similar to Apple’s Siri, which will aid in advising for dual credit, outreach to potential college enrollees, etc.
  • Noted the potential for A.I. to not only put out information, but to gather information as well
  • The panel was brought together to illustrate the many ways A.I. is being used and could be used moving forward


Michael Knox, West Texas A&M

  • Utilizes a version of a chatbot called ‘Thunder’
  • It is used to intervene in student dropouts for timely interactions to continue student success
  • Allows for personalization, relationship building, etc.
  • Thunder is used on campus for targeted interactions & general information – helps students walk through FASFA application as well as surveys
  • Data is limit so far, but noted retention is up 2.5% in the last year


Karen Serna, Austin Community College (ACC)

  • Presented ACC interactive texting tool via cell phone
  • The message is personalized and automated
  • 64% of students are receiving texts
  • Have seen greater persistence impact on female and part-time students


Samantha Wilson, Texas A&M

  • Bot has only been available for 1 week
  • Saw a need for faster deployment on information and a need for greater ease of access
  • Chose 3rd party developer I.V. Chatbot because they already operated in the higher education space
  • Allows the university clarity into what information needs to be made easier to access by students
  • Long term goal is to connect between multiple areas school wide, not siloed in finance or advising or admin.
  • Have also piloted multiple apps to help make access to information easier


Questions to the Panel

  • Plank – is there a common platform used for these?
    • Wilson – no, all are third party platforms
  • Plank – how much is pre-loaded versus learned?
    • Wilson – it requires initial programming, but the longer it runs the more is learned and aggregated
  • Steen – is there a responsibility to let people know that they are talking to a bot and not a real person?
    • Knox – there are multiple opportunities to let the user know
    • Booker – would be expecting to couple the bot with live advisors in the initial roll out
  • Williams – is it used for safety/security alerts?
    • Wilson – there are already many types of text and email alerts campus wide that have been in use for many years, similar to an amber alert
  • Acosta – do the students pay for it?
    • Williams – ours is funded through grants and industry partners
  • Booker – noted that the THECB version will be intended to support the Advise TX program


Agenda Item IX Matters relating to the Committee on Affordability, Accountability and Planning

Agenda Item IX-C: Data Highlight: The Changing Pipeline to Completion Handout PPT


Julie Eklund, THECB

  • It is possible to reach the 60x30TX Plan completion goal
  • What makes the data look like it is impossible is the parameters of the data – 22% of 8th graders reach completion of a 4-year degree in 11 years
    • The 8th grade analysis in not all inclusive – only looks at straight-line on-time completion
    • Does not count migration into higher education or alternative paths into higher education (adult students entering college, etc.)
  • 8th grade analysis only accounts for 36% of completions
  • 45% are 25 years or older
  • Goal of 550,000 certificates by 2030
  • Noted this will not be an easy goal to reach, and cannot be reached if “business as usual” continues, needs innovative ideas
  • Systematic improvements are needed to achieve the goal:
    • Retain Texas graduates
    • Recruit graduates from other states
    • Strength of our economy is critical: Economic development and job opportunities, 21st century industries, Competitive wages
    • Invest in and improve pathways through Texas K-12 schools to ensure students are college ready
    • Improve all other pathways into and through higher education


Jenna Hege, THECB

  • Economically disadvantaged is a key area that needs focus
  • Described economically disadvantaged calculation by Pell grant receipt
    • The longer they stay in higher education, the more likely they are to receive grants
  • 3% increase is needed each year – currently behind in economically disadvantaged completions
  • Currently more economically disadvantaged completions in higher education at both 2 and 4-year institutions than non-economically disadvantaged
    • Shift is due to increase in economically disadvantaged population in higher ed
  • Goal is 246,000 economically disadvantaged
  • Key Takeaways:
    • Completions by economically disadvantaged students have grown steadily over time and now make up the majority of undergraduate completions in the state
    • This has primarily been driven by the increase in the economically disadvantaged student population (both in K-12 and higher education)
    • Increased support to this group will be critical to meeting the target of 246,000 economically disadvantaged student completions in 2030


Questions to the Panel

  • Raven – are additional supports in terms of Pell what caused higher numbers?
    • Hege – increased federal Pell Grant support could be part of it
  • Anwar – can level 2 completions happen in high school?
    • Eklund – it can be through dual credit, we only counted completions at state schools with the only determining factor being a certificate from a state higher education institution
  • Anwar – is population projection of ESL taken into account?
    • Hege – it is but will continue to study that


Agenda Item X Matters Relating to the Committee on Academic and Workforce Success

Agenda Item X-C: Report to the Board on activities of the Community and Technical College Leadership Council PPT

Ron Walker, Community and Technical College Leadership Council – Chair

  • Described makeup of community and technical colleges
  • Noted that there are no studies that question the rigor of dual credit programs
  • Completion of dual credit students were on-time or better
  • Real standards need to be in place to judge dual credit courses, not just hearsay
  • Stedman – do not completely understand the enthusiasm community colleges have for dual credit because they are losing money on those programs?
    • Enthusiasm is because they are good programs even if they do not make money for the college – would appreciate additional state funding for those programs


Agenda Item X-D(2): Request from University of Houston for a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree with a major in Medicine PPT PPT2 


Stacy Silverman, THECB

  • Highlighted the University of Houston proposed program meets criteria and the committee approved the program at last meeting with two recommendations:
    • UH commits to aggressively pursue funds to provide scholarships and/or loan repayment to achieve its goal of having 50% of its students from under-represented populations
    • UH will provide documentation of hiring 20 additional core faculty through the submission of letters of intent, curricula vitae, and provide a list of courses to be taught prior to August 2020
  • Presented staff perspectives:
    • The proposed program would likely prepare physicians for entry into primary care and would prepare physicians to pursue medical careers in geographically underserved areas.
    • The institution’s two goals for the proposed program: 1) have 50 percent of its graduates practice primary care medicine, and 2) have 50 percent of its enrollment from under-represented populations.
    • The proposed program’s budget depends on a mix of general revenue, including special item and formula funding, tuition and fees, reallocation of institutional funds, and donations.
    • UH has strong supporting academic programs, existing faculty, and physical and administrative infrastructure necessary to develop, implement, and sustain a high-quality program.
    • UH submitted a specific plan regarding how the institution will provide sufficient first-year residency positions for graduates, pursuant to the provisions and intent of SB 1066, 85th Legislature, Regular Session.


Renu Khator and Steven Spann, University of Houston

  • Described the need for this program within the community and throughout the state
  • Intended to raise physician to population ratio
  • Intended to increase ratio of diverse physicians
  • Acosta – noted Representative Coleman has sent the board a letter of support for the program


  • The board approved the UH Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree program without objection


Agenda Item X-D(3): Request from the University of North Texas Health Science Center for a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree with a major in Medicine PPT 


Stacy Silverman, THECB

  • Highlighted the University of North Texas proposed program meets criteria and the committee approved the program at last meeting with two recommendations:
    • UNTHSC/TCU commit to providing financial support to cover 50% of tuition and fees for students with demonstrated financial need
    • UNTHSC will not seek formula funding for the proposed program
  • Presented staff perspectives:
    • The proposed program would prepare physicians for the region.
    • The proposed program’s budget depends on a mix of tuition and fees, reallocation of institutional funds, and donations.
    • The institutions have strong supporting academic programs, existing faculty, and physical and administrative infrastructure necessary to develop, implement, and sustain a high-quality program.
    • UNTHSC submitted a specific plan regarding how the institution will provide sufficient first-year residency positions for graduates, pursuant to the provisions and intent of SB 1066, 85th Legislature, Regular Session.


Michael Williams, University of North Texas – Health Science Center

  • The program will serve a community need and be conducted through a holistic approach with attention to affordability and diversity


  • The board approved the North Texas Health Science Center Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree program without objection


Agenda Item X-I: Advise TX Report | PPT


Jarel Booker, THECB

  • Described Advise TX as a near-peer advising program
  • Have received state funding through legislature appropriation
  • Involves a partnership between higher education and k-12
    • Texas A&M, University of Texas, Texas Christian University, and Trinity University are all involved in the program
  • Evaluation focuses on 5 areas of research: a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of Advise TX impact between 2012-16 and the programs impact on college enrollment and persistence, pathways to college, school culture, and advisers’ attitudes and life choices
  • Has served over 40,000 high school students
  • 2,000 more high school seniors went to college since this program started
  • Quantitative Findings:
    • The program demonstrated an increase in college enrollment and persistence rates – average college enrollment rates increased by slightly over 2 percentage points for high schools served between 2015-16 and 2016-17.
    • Advise TX increased college enrollment rates by more than 3 percentage points, especially for low-income students.
    • The average persistence rate increased by 3 percentage points.
  • Qualitative findings:
    • Schools where Advise TX is the only college access partner, 96 percent of high school counselors reported that the program has a significant or moderate effect on a schools’ college-going culture.
    • 80 percent of advisers felt satisfied or very satisfied with their overall experience and would recommend serving to others.
    • Participation in the program yielded an increased likelihood of advisers both attending graduate school in the future and pursuing employment in the education sector, specifically.
  • Funding for the program has been included in the LAR for the 86th Legislative Session
  • Wilson – is the request in a bill?
    • It will be in a rider as was previously done
  • The board approved the committee’s recommendation related to the Report in the Effectiveness of Advise TX without objection


Agenda Item X-J: The Graduate Medical Education Report | PPT


Stacy Silverman, THECB

  • Noted the report is due every other year
  • There will not be 15 medical schools in Texas by 2020 after the approval of the UH and UNTHSC programs
  • 2017 – only New York had more 1st year medical students than Texas
  • Discussed varying medical school class sizes across the state
  • Recommendations:
    • Continue support of the GME Expansion efforts. To maintain the 1.1 to 1 ratio of first-year residency positions to medical school graduates, the THECB has an exceptional item request of $60,675,000 for the 2020-21 biennium, which would support the addition of new residency positions to accommodate the increase in the number of medical graduates resulting from the opening of three new medical schools. The additional funds would support new residency positions and help maintain recently established residency positions.
    • Enhance support of the Family Practice Residency Program. The program started in the late 1970s to help address physician distribution. Unlike other medical specialties, family physicians are able to practice in smaller communities and rural areas. Their geographic distribution is similar to the general population. The THECB has an exceptional item request of $2 million to increase funding per resident to approximately $7,600 to support an estimated 773 family medicine residents in the program.
    • . Increase the GME formula funding from the FY 2018 and FY 2019 level of $5,824 to $6,654 for FY 2020 and FY 2021, per the Board’s recommendation.
    • Maintain funding and support for the THECB’s Statewide Preceptorship Programs established to encourage Texas medical students to consider selecting a primary care residency program
  • The board approved the Staff’s recommendation related to the Assessment of Graduate Medical Education Positions Report without objection


Agenda Item X-K: Advanced Placement Report


Rex Peebles, THECB

  • HB 1992 (84th Legislative Session) required acceptance of score of 3 or higher on AP test to get credit – most institutions require a score of 4 or higher
  • For all AP exams – students graduated at higher rated than those who did not have AP credit
  • Recommendations:
    • AP credit should be matched to courses by the institution to help clarify how and where the ap credit can be used
    • AP credit should be matched to major courses where possible
    • Encourage students to present AP credit to institutions
  • The board adopted the Staff recommendation related to the Advanced Placement Report without objection


Agenda Item X-L: Texas General Academic Institutions: Increasing Successful Community College Transfer Report  


Rex Peebles, THECB

  • From SB 1 (85th Legislative Session)
  • This is the 9th report done on transfer
  • Noted best practices identified in the report:
    • Need to strengthen on-site advising at high schools by higher education advisors
    • There should be mandatory orientation for transfer students
    • Excess hour reduction – insufficient advising at community colleges
    • More opportunities for financial aid for transfer students are needed
  • Ferias – noted this will be an important topic that will be focused on in the upcoming legislative session – there will be a need to be able to answer all of the legislature’s questions
  • The board adopted the Staff recommendation related to the Texas General Academic Institutions: Increasing Successful Community College Transfer Report without objection


Agenda Item X-M: Transfer of Course Credit Between Public Institutions of Higher Education Report 


Rex Peebles, THECB

  • From SB 802 (85th Legislative Session)
  • report looked at institutions receiving transfer students – and focused on the top 5 performing institutions
  • highlighted importance and timeliness of providing information
  • in most cases the more dual credit a student has the more excess hours they have
  • need to make core credits more transferable
  • should look to Advise TX to connect 2 and 4-year institutions to high schools
  • Plank – in there a means by which advisors can help students and families get through the application process?
    • Booker – intent is to have the Chatbot help in that process
  • Wilson – dual credit tends to mean the student collects more hours?
    • Typically, 6 more hours that do not apply to a degree
  • Wilson – doesn’t seem like a net savings on time for those with dual credit compared to those without?
    • On average it is a little faster but not significantly to the point of a semester
    • There are other benefits like cost savings or encouraging students to go to college at all
    • On average students have 12 hours of dual credit
  • The board adopted the Staff recommendation related to the o Best Practices in the Transfer of Course Credit Between Public Institutions of Higher Education Report without objection