Better data is key to community colleges reform

Texas 2036 Policy Advisor Renzo Soto testified Tuesday before the Senate Committee on Finance in favor of exceptional items for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board related to data modernization and further innovation and collaboration to help the state’s rural, small and mid-sized community colleges.

“There is an opportunity,” Soto said, “for transformational reform for the state’s community college finance system coming up this session, with specific recommendations to tie our formulas to state higher education goals of having 60% of Texans complete a postsecondary credential of value by 2030.”

To do so, he added, will require improved data, especially on credentials. There are an estimated 24,000 different credentials available in Texas. Better data is needed, Soto said, “so that we can determine which [credentials] have a positive ROI for students and can be designated as a credential of value.”

Programs around work-based learning that were rapidly deployed during the pandemic recession are still showing value to the state while the state continues to  have record-breaking job growth, Soto said.

Soto also testified in favor of recommendations for shared services “to help our small, rural and mid-sized communities have access to these types of innovative programs as well as other cost-saving efficiencies.”

His testimony begins at the 28:41 mark.

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