Texas Affordable Baccalaureate Degree Program offers low-cost alternative to college degree

Madlin Mekelburg

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board announced Wednesday the launch of the Texas Affordable Baccalaureate Degree Program as a “low-cost alternative” to a college degree.

The program, which was developed by the board, South Texas College and Texas A&M University-Commerce, will take students three years to complete, at a total cost of $13,000 to $15,000.

Students in the program will complete the required 120 credit hours through a combination of online modules and face-to-face instruction. The first seven-week term of the program began in late January at South Texas College and A&M-Commerce.

“[We 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 background. This isn’t just another business degree,” Van Davis, director of innovations for the board, said in a statement.

System spokeswoman Jenny LaCoste-Caputo said the board did not approach the UT System to join the partnership that established the program.

According to UT-Austin spokesman Gary Susswein, the University does not have plans to pursue a low-cost degree program because it “would not be viable” considering the University’s rigorous academic plan.  

UT-Permian Basin currently offers a $10,000 bachelor of science four-year degree through its Texas Science Scholar Program, which it launched in May 2012, while UT-Arlington and UT-Brownsville offer similar programs, developed through partnerships with community colleges and school districts in their respective areas.