By Thomas K. Lindsay
In his 2011 State of the State Address, then-Texas-Governor Rick Perry issued a bully-pulpit challenge to the Lone Star State’s public universities. He asked them to create bachelor’s degree programs that cost no more than $10,000 in tuition, fees, and books. He also asked that ten percent of Texas public university degrees awarded reach this price point. How would it be accomplished? Perry advised schools to reduce costs through offering some classes online as well as through awarding course credits based on competencies acquired outside the classroom, such as during military service and/or previous employment.
Note well that the governor did not ask that the price for the new degrees total no more than $10,000 for only one academic year, but rather, for the full four years of a bachelor’s degree program.
Perry’s challenge was met with a mixture of disbelief and derision. The chairman of the Travis County Democrats called Perry’s idea “preposterous,” adding that “nobody in higher education believes that is even possible.” The president of the Texas Conference of the American Association of University Professors, wondered, “Do you really want a stripped-down, bare-bones degree?”
That was then. But this is now. CONTINUE READING HERE