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Texas Meets Perry's Goal, Launches $10,000 Bachelor's Degree Programs



By Catherine Groux
Posted March 08, 2012 12:26 PM

Texas schools are working toward creating $10,000 bachelor's degree programs.
Texas schools are working toward creating $10,000 bachelor's degree programs.
In 2011, Texas Governor Rick Perry challenged the state's public schools to create bachelor's degree programs that cost no more than $10,000, including textbooks, The American Statesman reports. Prior to this announcement, the average Texas student paid about $31,696 at public universities in the state, including tuition, fees and course materials. The least expensive public institution, Sul Ross State University, costs about $17,532.

As these figures are still well above Perry's goal of $10,000, state academic officials were left puzzled as to how they could reduce their costs so drastically.

"My answer is I have no idea," Mike McKinney, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, told the Statesman. "I'm not going to say that it can't be done."

However, when New York's Excelsior College announced that it had launched a $10,000 bachelor's degree program in January 2012, Perry's dream for Texas seemed to be closer to becoming a reality. Excelsior was the first school in the nation to make this price guarantee, according to a press release, and strives to provide various online education offerings to make this affordable course of study ideal for working adults.

At Excelsior, students who want to follow the $10,000 track can earn bachelor's degrees in liberal studies with concentrations in psychology, sociology, health professionals or administrative/management studies.

Following in Excelsior's footsteps, officials from various Texas universities and community colleges recently announced that they have met Perry's goal and can now offer students $10,000 bachelor's degrees in select subjects, with more options to come within the year, the Texas Tribune reports. At Texas A&M-San Antonio, for example, students can now pursue a bachelor's degree in information technology with a focus on cybersecurity for about $9,700.

Texas A&M President Maria Ferrar told the Tribune that this is just the beginning of more affordable higher education options for local students.

"This is a start," she said. "We are looking at other programs that absolutely meet the needs of the region, state and the country and that will really yield a job at the end of that degree." 

Currently, Texas universities are using partnerships with community colleges to make bachelor's degree programs more affordable. However, Dan Jones, Texas A&M-Commerce president, said in the future, schools may use e-textbooks and competency-based learning models to lower the cost of earning a degree.

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