Texas plans to increase college graduation rates by 2030

Van Nguyen

The 60x30TX plan ­— introduced last year by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board — aims to ensure 60 percent of those between the ages of 25 to 34 have a college certificate or degree by 2030.

The initiative plans to have 550,000 students in 2030 complete a certificate or degree program and for those who graduate from these programs to have marketable skills in the workforce. Student debt will be tackled as well with the plan aiming to hold debt at 60 percent of first-year wages.

Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) presented the program last November and said for Texas to keep growing, a skilled and educated workforce will be needed.

“The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s 60×30 Texas plan takes Texas to the next level,” Abbott said in a statement. “Texas will be a national leader in higher education degrees. Texas will become the home for innovation and intellectual capital. This is a high expectation. People often live up to expectations whether high or low.”

60x30TX realizes the Texas workforce will be more diverse in the future and aims to include those from all backgrounds. The plan states failure to do so will result in lower incomes and a lower percentage of educated Texans in 2030 than in 2015.

The Hispanic population in Texas is currently 43 percent and is projected to grow to 52 percent by 2030, according to the 60x30TX plan. 60x30TX will target this group heavily to create equal opportunities for all.

The plan states that in order for Texas to succeed, it must respond to the changing Texas population by promoting college attainment to students and parents before high school, making higher education more accessible and providing high-quality education programs for under-served adults.

The plan also states helping those from disadvantaged backgrounds must become a priority. The plan suggests collaborating with K-12 to improve college-readiness, increasing economically disadvantaged student enrollment in college-level courses in high school and sharing practices that guide students to higher education.

At the Board of Regents meeting in May, UT President Gregory Fenves said one of the issues with higher education is that the undergraduate curriculum is exactly how it was a half century ago. UT is focusing on innovating undergraduate education by integrating research into curriculum, and this supports the 60x30TX plan, Fenves said at the meeting.

“This will help our students graduate in four years and aligns with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s 60X30TX strategic plan, under which students will complete college as well-rounded, educated citizens prepared for successful careers,” Fenves said.

At the same meeting, UT System Chancellor William H. McRaven said the UT System would back the plan because it is their responsibility to help in this effort.

“As the largest producer of college graduates in the state of Texas, the University of Texas System accepts a great responsibility in this critical effort,” McRaven said. “Texas can reach this important goal with the 60x30TX plan in place and the commitment of so many dedicated partners. The UT System eagerly accepts its vital role in this initiative.”