When the last legislative session ended with huge wins for Texas public schools in the form of increased funding and teacher raises, higher education leaders looked to 2021, hopeful it would soon be their turn.

Texas Higher Education Commissioner Harrison Keller, who took the helm in the fall of 2019, started meeting with state lawmakers and Gov. Greg Abbott to push the idea that the next session should be focused on higher education, including a bill that could overhaul its funding.

Then, the pandemic hit.

Now, instead of the hike in spending they were hoping for, universities are trying to avoid budget cuts while advocating for more resources to serve students, many of whom have been hit hard by the past year.

“In some ways, it pulled the rug out from under us,” Keller told The Texas Tribune in an interview. “But this still needs to be a higher ed session. ... If anything

It’s tempting to believe once COVID-19 is contained, the U.S. economy will bounce back quickly, replenishing jobs and incomes lost in the pandemic. Yet, as presidents of community colleges that educate and train a substantial portion of the workforce, we have concerns driven by both recent data and historic perspective.

The data presents a significant early warning sign. When the labor market fully reopens, some high-demand jobs may be hard to fill even with millions of Americans looking for work. This is due to a copious drop-off in community college enrollments nationwide.

History shows that states facing revenue shortfalls often resort to across-the-board cuts. Fiscal responsibility is laudable, but major cuts made to higher education and need-based financial aid during the Great Recession, just as a rising number of unemployed and cash-strapped Americans needed to upgrade their

TRUE Seeks to Accelerate Skills Training and Upskilling Needed by Employers

The COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn have dealt an undeniable blow to greater Houston’s workforce. As 2020 came to a close, our regional economy recovered approximately 60 percent of the 360,000 jobs lost last March, but that still left roughly 150,000 residents across the Houston area without jobs at the end of the year. While the regional number is declining, statewide, the number stands at approximately 544,000 people who are unemployed due to the pandemic. The changing market and the way work has been conducted during the pandemic have shifted the skills individuals need to reenter the workforce.

In the fall of 2019, community colleges across Texas enrolled more than 740,000 students. With that level of enrollment, Texas community colleges are positioned to have a significant impact on the long

It’s an honor to be TACC’s inaugural Policy Fellow, and I’m beyond excited to learn and work alongside this team. I believe my education and professional experiences have set a foundation from which I can learn and contribute to this position.

As a child of immigrants and a first-generation college student, I comprehend the importance of education first-hand. My parents taught me that education is a human right that no one should take away. After receiving my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Houston, I taught AP Human Geography and World Geography to 9th-grade students at a Title 1 school. During that time, I received my M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Texas A&M University with a focus on teaching English as a second language. Throughout the four years I spent as a high school teacher, I was continuously reminded of the inequities that students face not only in K-12

Blinn College District Vice Chancellor for Administration Karen Buck has been named the 2020 winner of the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) Carl M. “Cheesie” Nelson Award.

The Nelson Award is the most prestigious annual award presented by the TACC and recognizes the winner's commitment to the mission of community colleges, support for student learning and success, leadership qualities, and involvement in community activities. The award is named after former Texarkana College President Carl M. Nelson.

“On behalf of everyone at Blinn College, we are excited to congratulate Vice Chancellor Buck on this tremendous accolade,” said Dr. Mary Hensley, Chancellor of the Blinn College District. “For the past 25 years, her leadership skills and dedication to students have played a vital role in Blinn's success.”

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