The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) has introduced a new plan for the state, suggesting that by 2030 at least 60% of citizens between the ages of 25 and 34 should be holding a certificate or college degree.
The 15-year plan, called 60x30TX, targets that age demographic because they are considered to represent the future of the success of the state. Only 38% of citizens of the state within that age bracket currently hold credentials in postsecondary education.
In addition, population growth in Texas is estimated to be highest among the Hispanic population, which as a demographic has a below-average graduation rate.
“You have to set goals for where the state needs to be, not goals that are easily obtained and that won’t change the future of Texas,” said Steve Murdock, a professor of sociology at Rice University, former director of the U.S. Census Bureau and a member of the panel that drafted the plan. “Goals that are ambitious are exactly what we need in Texas. Otherwise, Texas will be poorer and less competitive in the future.”
A group of business and higher education leaders introduced the plan after expressing their concerns that the state was falling behind other states and countries. While Texas would be ranked 5th in the world in educational attainment among citizens aged 55-64 years if it were its own country, it would only be listed as 25th in the world among people between the ages of 25 and 34, reports Matthew Watkins for The Texas Tribune.
The plan comes with three additional goals for the state in addition to boosting the rate of degree holders. The board would like to see at least 550,000 students in Texas earn a degree or certificate that year; to ensure that all graduates of public institutions hold marketable skills; and to see the student loan debt of undergraduates stay within 60% or less of their first-year earnings, writes Ralph K.M. Haurwitz for The American-Statesman.
The plan is set to replace the current plan referred to as Closing the Gaps by 2015, which hoped to award 163,000 degrees annually by 2015. That goal was achieved with significant improvement seen among minority groups. Having been implemented in 2000, that plan also held to a 15-year campaign, reports Merrill Hope for Breitbart.
Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes called 60x30TX an ambitious goal but believes it is achievable. He told KERA News: “I think it’s a stretch but I think it’s something we should aspire to. It’s that level of education we’re going to need in order to be economically competitive. I think we can stretch a little bit more and get even better results.”