Higher Education Guide: News updates from Austin-area colleges

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St. Edward’s University prepares for growth with new master plan

In October, the board of trustees at St. Edward’s University approved its Strategic Plan 2022, a 15- to 20-year blueprint for how to accommodate its growth.

Since then, the university has completed exterior renovations of its main building and begun construction on its new, 133-unit Pavilions apartment complex,which is expected to open in time for the fall semester.

“We have a [really] strong deficit in housing,” said Kit Johnson, associate vice president of master planning at St. Edward’s.

There are 1,400 beds for students, he said, which is fewer than the 2,000 requests for on-campus housing the university typically receives each year.

Upcoming projects under the master plan include the building of a recreation and convocation center, the first phase of which is scheduled to be complete by fall 2019, and determining the best use of the former El Gallo property, which the university purchased in November and plans to develop with a private partner.

UT-Austin leads statewide partnership to help public schools

The University of Texas at Austin is one of five UT campuses participating in the UT System Pre K-12 Turnaround Partnership, which pairs colleges of education with low-performing public schools around the state.

While UT-Austin is not partnered with a local school district, it will serve as “the knowledge management hub for this initiative,” said Dr. Nichole Prescott, an assistant vice chancellor with UT System.

As such, UT-Austin will coordinate data, liaise with the Texas Education Agency and determine best practices as the initiative progresses.

“Ultimately this is about helping struggling Texas schools and struggling Texas students,” Prescott said.

The goal is that the initiative will grow to include more colleges of education and public schools in need of support, Prescott said.

Austin Community College reduces out-of-district fee, out-of-state tuition

Last year, the Austin Community College Board of Trustees approved a new policy, promising to reduce costs for students who live outside the district’s tax base.

On May 7, the board made its first small step toward reducing those costs. However, board members acknowledged the cost reduction is a gesture to show students that the board will remain cost-conscious in the future, rather than a decision that would make a significant and immediate impact for the upcoming academic year.

The board kept in-district tuition rates the same at $67 per semester credit hour, while electing to reduce the out-of-district fee and the out-of-state tuition fee by $2 each to $276 per and $416 per semester credit hour, respectively.

The new rates went into effect when registration opened for the fall semester on Monday, May 14.

UT increases financial aid, raises tuition

Students with family incomes up to $30,000 will receive enough financial aid to cover full tuition costs at the University of Texas. Middle-income students with family incomes up to $100,000 and need, will receive guaranteed aid.

The April announcement from UT President Gregory Fenves came a month after the UT System Board of Regents approved a tuition increase. The average in-state resident undergrad tuition fee at UT is $5,200 per semester, and will increase to $5,304 in 2018-2019 and $5,410 in 2019-2020.

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