Below is an editorial from today’s Lubbock Avalanche-Journal on the need for more top-tier universities in Texas. You can read the Legislative Study Group recommendations on higher education cited in the editorial by clicking here and find the editorial at the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s website by clicking here.

Texas Tech should be tier-one school

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Story last updated at 10/7/2008 – 8:02 am

TEXAS NEEDS at least one more national research university, according to Bill Powers, president of the University of Texas-Austin, one of only two such tier one public higher education entities in the state.

Why not Texas Tech as the third tier-one school?

To qualify as tier one, a school needs to spend $100 million on research. Texas Tech needs $49 million to reach that threshold.
Texas A&M; is the other tier-one public university. In contrast, California has nine national research universities, New York has eight.

After initial state contributions to the university as seed money, additional funding is drawn from federal and private grants.

Also, investment in research and development yields a 20 to 30 percent rate of return to the state in terms of jobs and economic stimulus, according to The Texas Legislative Study Group, a public policy group chaired by state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston.

An investment of $188 million in state funds could bring four schools to tier-one status (Texas Tech, the University of Houston, the University of Texas-Dallas and the University of Texas-El Paso). An investment of $405 million could yield seven additional tier-one schools in Texas, bringing the total to nine.

Given a choice, students prefer to attend a university with a top-tier reputation, noted the LSG report. Instead of taking steps to curtail the number of students who are admitted to top-tier universities, the state should be taking steps to expand the number of top-tier universities, according to recommendations by Rep. Coleman’s study group.

We are a rapidly growing state, and UT-Austin, A&M; and Rice (a private tier one school) can’t perform all the needed research, and they can’t begin to accommodate all our young people who want to attend a national research university, as Mr. Powers points out.

Some 10,000 high school graduates are leaving Texas each year to attend doctoral degree-granting universities elsewhere, while only about 4,000 students from other states come to Texas to enroll at similar institutions, he says. “That’s a potential brain drain of about 6,000 of our best and brightest students.”

If the head Longhorn gets the concept, shouldn’t everyone else?

Editorials represent the opinion of The Avalanche-Journal Editorial Board, which consists of Publisher Stephen A. Beasley, Editor Terry Greenberg, Editorial Page Editor Joe Hughes, editorial writer Joe Gulick, in addition to input provided by community advisory board members Adrienne Cozart, Anna Sterling and Irasema Velasquez.

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