Texas has garnered broad public support for a set of statewide goals for higher education: increasing college enrollment, raising the number of degrees awarded, pushing the state’s colleges and universities up in the national rankings, and luring more federal research dollars.
And Texas has made progress toward these goals. Notably, compared to a decade ago, many more young Texans are graduating from high school ready to do college-level work, many more are going to college, and many more are finishing their degrees once they do enroll. In recent years, moreover, Texas has been a leader among states in developing policies to align high school course content with the knowledge students need to succeed in college, without taking remedial courses.
But the future of economic growth is at stake. The performance of higher education in Texas still lags well behind that of other states. Unless state leaders prioritize their goals for higher education and develop a plan to pay for them, Texas will be forced to close the doors to college opportunity for thousands of young people—many of them Latino—as a number of warning signs attest.