Mr. Big

During the past few years, Texas A&M and UT-Austin have been criticized by the Texas Public Policy Foundation and some elected officials. Criticism is healthy, whether driven by ideas or ideologies. However, the critics act as if there are only two public universities in Texas, Texas A&M University and UT Austin. A common criticism was that the two universities are too expensive. Given this kind of criticism it is important to think about a recent plan announced by the Texas A&M University College of Engineering. The Dwight Look College of Engineering recently announced a plan to raise its student population to 25,000 by 2025, an approximately 150% increase. There are 23 public universities in the state which offer engineering degrees certified by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology in one or more engineering disciplines, and they contribute substantially to the $1.5 trillion Texas GDP. It appears 21 schools, other than A&M and UT, are discounted or ignored by the A&M plan. These universities are important because they provide first class, mostly undergraduate, education at a cost less than what the largest public research universities must charge.