Archive for the ‘Education’ Tag

Why UT-Austin Shouldn’t Raise Its Tuition   1 comment

The Texas Tribune

 

Guest Column: Why UT-Austin Shouldn’t Raise Its Tuition

 

University of Texas System Regent, Alex Cranberg

University of Texas System Regent, Alex Cranberg

The University of Texas System is an extraordinary institution. It educates more than 200,000 students, mostly from Texas, and it conducts an enormous amount of groundbreaking research. The cumulative impact of the education of young people and the research output of the thousands of brilliant faculty is prodigious and valuable. I could not be prouder of the University of Texas diploma on my wall, representing as it does not only knowledge and thinking skills gained but also the symbol of the four joyous and challenging years I spent growing as a person and learning about myself and others. What a gift the founders of Texas gave our state in establishing “a University of the first class.” It is a special privilege for me to serve on my university system‘s board of regents (although the views expressed here are mine personally and not necessarily those of other board members).

Over the 35 years since I graduated, many measures of the quality of UT-Austin have grown dramatically. But tuition has also increased — by more than 80 percent over just the past eight years. I am forever grateful to the university and to the state of Texas for giving me the opportunity to be able to pay my own way through school and graduate almost debt free. Today’s students are not typically so lucky.

It is fashionable to blame higher tuition on legislative tight-fistedness, but the facts simply do not support that charge.  Nationally, state support for higher education has roughly kept pace with general inflation over the past 20 years. Some pushing for higher student tuition tend to point out that state support of higher education has dropped substantially as a share of total revenues. That is true, but only because educational costs have increased much faster than inflation and federally funded research budgets have grown substantially, making state support naturally account for a much smaller portion of the entire budget.

At UT-Austin, generous philanthropists and state-granted lands have endowed the university with extraordinary additional pillars of support that other institutions could only dream about. Even intercollegiate athletics, often a loss-maker, provide meaningful support for academic programs. Finally, a little-noticed change in the admissions practice at UT-Austin is shifting many slots previously allocated to Texas residents, who pay $10,000 per year, to nonresidents, who pay $33,000 per year.

During the past 10 years, after inflation, investment income and university funds available for operations (i.e., over and above capital expenditures) have grown by $2,100 per student. State support has dropped by only $1,300 per student, partly due to nonresident students not being subsidized by the state. Roughly two-thirds of state funding cuts are either tied to or offset by increased nonresident tuition. The $3,300-per-year tuition increase families are already paying is simply not justified by reductions in state support — and nor is possibility of further increases.

The public is told by some that holding the line on tuition will imperil much-needed student programs, hold back research or result in a “dumbing down” of the university. The actual data demonstrate that this is a fundamentally misleading position. Instructional revenues are going up, even without tuition increases. State funding cuts are frequently cited by those asking for more money from students — despite the negative consequences of even higher tuition on student access. Yes, there are plenty of students willing to pay the tuition at UT even if it increased further. But is that what the founders of Texas had in mind for their “University of the first class”? The Texas Constitution does not famously promise its citizens a “University of the upper class.”

We can earn financial support from other parts of society than students facing an uncertain job market. We can enhance learning productivity, better reward our faculty and have an even bigger positive influence on the world by harnessing technology even more innovatively than we do now. We do not need to increase tuition.

It is a competitive world. I love the University of Texas too much to see others take the lead. I expect the Texas Legislature, the University of Texas System and our many dedicated, inspired faculty, staff and administrators will continue to work together to find ways actually to cut students’ outlay and increase quality of learning so that UT students may be even more blessed by the UT opportunity than I have been.

Alex Cranberg sits on the University of Texas System Board of Regents.

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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush keynotes ACE Scholarships luncheon in Denver   Leave a comment

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told an audience of 1,700 Denver business and civic leaders on Tuesday that a failing educational system puts the United States at risk of becoming a nation in decline.

Speaking at the spring luncheon of at the Hyatt Convention Center, Bush said the path to fixing the systems is more parental engagement, higher educational standards, better accountability, customized learning, reform of the teaching profession and empowering people with school choice.

“In schooling, the most important thing we ought to be doing is providing choice,” he said.

There is a deepening crisis in the United States.   Leave a comment

Half of African-American and Hispanic children drop out of high school. Of those who graduate, many read at a middle school level, and few are ready for college. Our poor, inner-city children are not receiving the education they need to become successful contributors to society.

Without a diploma these children are as likely to go to prison, as they are to go to college. The promise of the American Dream – “a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement,” according to James Truslow Adams – is just that for these children: a dream.
We can fix this crisis. But first, we must truly understand the extent of the problem.
See more from ACE Scholarships: http://www.acescholarships.org/the-facts

We need to encourage and reward performance   Leave a comment

“We need to encourage and reward performance,” regent Alex Cranberg said.

As noted in the Texas Tribune article regarding Tenured UT System faculty members and their evaluations.

ACE- Here’s to a great 2012!   Leave a comment

2011 was an incredible year for ACE punctuated by an incredible spring luncheon with keynote speaker Michelle Rhee. The tremendous outpouring of support from that event, and the generosity of our donors throughout the year, allowed us to supported 1,200 low-income children for the 2011-12 school year.

What’s more, last year’s success will enabled ACE to add 300 new scholarship recipients for the 2012-13 school year, increasing our scholarship program to 1,500 low-income children.
To put this in perspective, in 2008 ACE supported 727 students; to almost double our scholarship program during one of the most challenging economic climates in recent memory is an incredible achievement.
Thank you for all you have done to make this possible!
Just a month into the year, 2012 has already started off with some exciting developments
ACE was honored to partner with close to twenty other Colorado organizations to launch ColoradoSchoolGrades.com an online tool that allows parents to better understand how their public school is performing by assigning each school with an easy-to-understand letter-grade based on state data. This site gives parents valuable information to make an informed choice about their child’s education.
Also last month, we sponsored an exciting event as part of National School Choice Week during which tens of thousands of people attended more than 400 events across the nation to shine a spotlight on the need for better educational options for children.
ACE was the Title Sponsor of an event in Castle Rock that brought more than 1,200 people together to hear about the benefits of school choice and take away valuable ideas about how they can get involved in this critical cause.
2012 will indeed be an exciting year as we continue to showcase the  impact that school choice can have on the lives of kids… kids like Julio, Lindsay and Nehemias.
Thank you for your continued interest and investment in ACE and Colorado’s children. It’s an investment with untold rewards.Here’s to a great 2012!

Alex Cranberg speak at Philanthropy Roundtable Oct 28th, Phoenician, Scottsdale, AZ   Leave a comment

Alex Cranberg  - Philanthropy Roundtable

See Alex Cranberg speak at the Friday, October 28  3:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.  Afternoon Breakout Sessions

What Sparked the School Choice Resurgence of 2011?

Surprise! 2011 has been a monumental year for education reform. This year alone, 36 states have either passed or are considering comprehensive legislation on school vouchers, tax credits, and other education reform measures. Of these, 12 states and the District of Columbia have implemented reforms to expand or create school choice programs. What accounts for this sheer volume of school-funding reform activity? And what role did philanthropy play? While some have said the reforms were a byproduct of the 2010 elections, others have pointed to the dramatic shift in strategy away from white papers and editorials and towards public awareness-building and sophisticated political advocacy. At this session, speakers from three states that exemplify the resurgence—Colorado, Arizona, and Indiana—will explain how they turned things around. What are the lessons for donors who want to advance school choice reforms in their states? Where did reforms fail, and what can we learn from these failures? As the school choice movement moves forward, how can it maintain momentum and guard its victories as it evolves and matures?

Alex Cranberg, Accompanied Gov. Perry to a Function with Supporters in Aspen Colorado.   Leave a comment

Alex Cranberg

Alex Cranberg, accompanied Gov. Perry to a function with supporters in Aspen Colorado.

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