Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Texas Launches Low-Cost Degree Program

In 2011, Texas Gov. Rick Perry challenged education leaders in his state to develop a four-year baccalaureate degree that cost no more than $10,000 to complete. Officials responded with a three-year degree program that costs $13,000 and uses online courses to deliver on the low-cost promise.

The Texas Affordable Baccalaureate Degree Program allows students to earn 90 credit hours online, with the last 30 offered in both traditional classrooms and online settings. Students are also allowed to earn credits for lower-division coursework by proving they have mastered the concept.

The cost is $750 for each seven-week period and includes e-textbooks. Students are able to complete as many courses as they can within that seven-week period without additional cost.

The program was launched in early February at South Texas College and Texas A&M-Commerce. It is supported by the College for All Texans Foundation and a two-year, $1 million grant from Educause and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Its goal is to teach skills employers view as necessary for students to join the workforce.

“We also listened to what national and regional employers are saying they really want: graduates with critical thinking skills who are quantitatively literate, can evaluate knowledge sources, understand diversity, and benefit from a strong liberal arts and sciences backgrounds,” said Van Davis, director of innovation, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. “This isn’t just another business degree.”

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