The state’s higher education agency on Thursday adopted a strategic plan that says by 2030 at least 60 percent of Texas residents ages 25 to 34 should have a certificate or degree.

The state’s higher education agency on Thursday adopted a strategic plan that says by 2030 at least 60 percent of Texas residents ages 25 to 34 should have a certificate or degree.


The age group is considered to represent the future capacity of the state to compete and prosper. But just 38 percent of Texans of that vintage currently hold a postsecondary credential. And with population growth projected to be greatest among Hispanics, a group with below-average graduation rates, the challenge going forward is daunting.


"You have to set goals for where the state needs to be, not goals that are easily obtained and that won’t change the future of Texas," said Steve Murdock, a professor of sociology at Rice University, former director of the U.S. Census Bureau and a member of the panel that drafted the plan. "Goals that are ambitious are exactly what we need in Texas. Otherwise, Texas will be poorer and less competitive in the future."


The plan, dubbed 60x30TX and pronounced "sixty by thirty tex," was approved unanimously by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board at its meeting in Austin. The plan would replace the state’s previous higher education plan, known as Closing the Gaps by 2015.


Besides the new plan’s overarching goal, it sets three additional goals for 2030: ensuring that at least 550,000 students in Texas earn a certificate or degree that year, equipping all graduates of public institutions with marketable skills and keeping undergraduates’ student loan debt to 60 percent or less of their first-year wages.


___


(c)2015 Austin American-Statesman, Texas


Visit Austin American-Statesman, Texas at www.statesman.com


Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.