Leander parents and students would be wise to exercise due diligence in assessing the value of Central Texas universities before spending $100k+ or incurring as much in debt.
Metrics for assessing value and competency of a university include graduation, retention, and admission rates, as well as annual tuition cost.
According to the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the statistics, research, and evaluation arm of the U.S. Department of Education, the following Central Texas Universities reported the corresponding retention rates, graduation rates, and first year expenses of first-year, full-time, on-campus students for the 2017-2018 academic year.
|Institution||Percentage of First-Time Full Time Students|
Pursuing a Bachelors Degree
Who Began Their Studies in
Fall 2017 and Returned in Fall 2018
|Percentage of Full-time, First-Time Students Who Graduated|
Within 150% of "Normal Time"
to Completion for Their Program
|Estimated Expenses for 2018-2019 Academic Year|
Tuition, Fees, On-Campus Boarding
|Percent of Applicants Admitted|
|University of Texas||95%||83%||$26,506||39%|
|Texas A&M University||92%||82%||$29,506||68%|
|St. Edwards University||79%||63%||$61,670||86%|
|Texas State University||77%||55%||$23,130||46%|
|Texas Lutheran University||71%||53%||$43,310||54%|
|University of Mary Hardin Baylor||73%||45%||$41,426||87%|
Beware of low admission standards, especially if combined with a low-justification offer for a full scholarship. The scholarship is usually contingent upon the student maintaining a certain high GPA the first semester, which may be highly unrealistic for a student who has struggled to maintain a B+ average in high school. Missing that GPA threshold on the first semester may be result in complete scholarship loss. This structure incentivizes the school to guide the first year, first semester student into at least one extremely challenging weed-out course.
When the student then misses the GPA condition for his/her first semester, all future scholarship funding is forfeited. The student without financial resources is then strongly encouraged (pressured) by the school’s financial aid department to pre-register for the next semester and apply for a federal student loan. This keeps the school’s gravy train running while loading up a student with $20k+ in unforgivable debt per semester in return for a low value degree, should the student even complete.
There are better metrics for choosing a college than the school’s landscaping/aesthetics, sports program, religious facade, family tradition, or proximity to home. A visit to the school’s Career Center would be a wise first stop.
Likewise, there are readily-available metrics providing a narrative on which schools to avoid. College Navigator helps tell that story.
Copyright © 2019 Don Stroud