In 2011, Governor Perry called for the creation of a $10,000 degree in his “State of the State” Address. This charge for affordable degree programs challenges Texas’ higher education institutions to be innovative in the delivery of academic programs and reducing costs for students seeking post-secondary education.
Responding to this challenge, the Coordinating Board, Texas A&M University-Commerce (TAMU-C), and South Texas College (STC) collaborated on the development of the first TAB degrees. With funding from EDUCAUSE, the partnership developed a BAAS in organizational leadership at TAMU-C, offered exclusively online, and a BAS in organizational leadership at STC, offered in hybrid mode (the lower-division curriculum is online, while the upper-division curriculum includes face-to-face components). The initial funding was designed to leverage technology in ways that will lead to scalable, low-cost degree solutions for all students, but especially those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
In these TAB degree programs, cost to students is minimal at $750 for each seven-week period of enrollment, with no limit on the number of modules they complete per term. Through a competency-based model that incorporates prior learning assessments (completed prior to program enrollment) and transfer credits (where applicable), students in both programs complete the modules at their own pace, mastering the content before moving on in their programs. The campuses graduated their first students in 2015.
The College for All Texans Foundation is currently soliciting funding to expand the number of institutions in Texas offering TAB degrees from two to ten, thus encouraging all institutions (universities, colleges, and community colleges authorized to provide four-year degrees) to explore and implement new affordable pathways to degrees of value in the marketplace. Over the first five years, the expansion is projected to enroll 21,000 students.