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December 15, 1999     (512) 463-0300

SPECIAL COMMISSION ON 21ST CENTURY COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES

SAN ANTONIO - The Special Commission on 21st Century Colleges and Universities held a public hearing in the Performing Arts Auditorium on the Palo Alto College Campus in San Antonio on Wednesday, December 15, 1999. The commission was appointed by Lt. Governor Rick Perry to study issues facing Texas' colleges and universities in the future. The commission is chaired by Jim Adams of San Antonio, and its members include Kirbyjon H. Caldwell of Houston, Betsy Goebel Jones of Lubbock, Margarita Diaz Kintz of Austin, R. Steve Ledbetter of Houston, Nancy Cain Marcus of Dallas, Jeff Sandefer of Austin, Elaine Mendoza of San Antonio, Karen L. Shewbart of Lake Jackson, Danny Vickers of El Paso, Railroad Commissioner Tony Garza of Austin, and Senators Carlos Truan of Corpus Christi, Bill Ratliff of Mt. Pleasant, Teel Bivins of Amarillo, and Royce West of Dallas.

Testimony began with state demographer Dr. Steve Murdock discussing trends in Texas' growth patterns and the affect on school enrollment and financial needs. Murdock reported three major trends in Texas: changing rate and source of population growth, increased aging population and increasing minority population. Senator Bivins, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, reported to the commission on K-16 initiatives.

The commission heard testimony from two panels of invited speakers.

The first panel testified on K-16 issues. The panel included Dr. Don Brown, Commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; Dr. Bill Reaves, Assistant Vice Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System and Assistant Commissioner for School-University Initiatives, Texas Education Agency; and Dr. Bud Frankenburger, Special Assistant to the President, University of Texas-Pan American, and Texas Business and Education Coalition Board Member.

Panel members were joined by Jack C. Jordan, Superintendent of Harlandale Independent School District. Jordan discussed the problems and perceptions his students expressed about attending institutions of higher learning, and the methods he and his staff used in breaking down the barriers to assist students in funding and enrolling in colleges. Using one-on-one efforts, including assisting students in obtaining financial aid, counseling students about their fears related to attending college, and volunteer summer counseling programs, resulted in over 200 students enrolling in colleges that had no intention of furthering their education.

The second panel of invited guests discussed financial aid and admissions to institutions of higher learning. Panel members included Lynn Rodriguez, General Counsel and Director of Access and Equity at the Texas Higher Education Coordinatng Board; Sharon Cobb, Assistant Commissioner for Student Services at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; Marc Nigliazzo, PhD., President of the Texas Association of Community Colleges and CEO/President of Temple College; John Edwards, PhD., Past-President of the Texas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers and Dean of Enrollment Management at Texas A&M University at Commerce; and Jack Falks, President of the Texas Association of Student Financial Aid Admministrators, Director of Student and Administration Services at the Texas A&M Health Science Center and Past Assistant Director of Financial Aid at Texas A&M University.

A report of the commissions findings will be prepared by Novermber 1, 2000 for distribution to the 77th Legislature which will convene in January 2001.

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