By Reeve Hamilton
The Texas State University System is the state’s third major university system to announce the development of a bachelor’s degree that only costs $10,000 — a response to Gov. Rick Perry‘s 2011 call for more affordable higher education offerings.
Sul Ross State University Rio Grande College, an upper-division college in the Texas State University System, has partnered with Southwest Texas Junior College to create a new “10K Scholars Program.” Its degree model, which will become available in fall 2013, appears to be something of a hybrid of the previous two models introduced in the state.
Texas A&M University-San Antonio partnered with Alamo Colleges to offer a bachelor’s of applied arts and sciences in information technology with an emphasis on computer security. In order to keep costs down, students must earn an associate’s degree while still in high school and then take advantage of the lower costs at one of the Alamo community colleges before proceeding to A&M-San Antonio. At the University of Texas-Permian Basin, a $10,000 degree can be earned entirely at the institution for students who qualify for the new Texas Science Scholar program, essentially providing them a merit scholarship that caps their tuition.
In the Texas State model, the opportunity is available to high school students who graduate with at least a 2.5 GPA and at least 30 hours of college credit completed. Students then spend a year at the junior college before completing their degrees at Sul Ross State University Rio Grande College. The total cost would be capped at $10,000 through deferred scholarships — worth $2,122 — that students earn provided they maintain at least a 3.0 GPA and take 15 hours of classes each semester, allowing them to graduate in three years.
If they meet all those criteria and follow the prescribed path, students can graduate with a $10,000 bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry or mathematics.
“Sul Ross Rio Grande College and Southwest Texas Junior College have worked together for many years to provide thousands of students with the opportunity to earn high-quality, affordable college degrees,” Texas State University System Chancellor Brian McCall said in a statement. “The ‘10K Scholars Program’ continues this tradition and rewards students who complete their degrees in a timely manner.”
this article appeared on Texas Tribune on 7/11/12