Star Awards Program 2021

The 2021 Star Awards will recognize institutions of higher education for outstanding efforts to respond to COVID-19. These awards will honor institutions that ensured the health, safety, and success of their campus community through innovative approaches and local partnerships.

Award recipients will be publicly recognized for their success during the 2021 Higher Education Leadership Conference. The application period for the awards will be open July 28, 2021, through August 27, 2021. Recipients will be notified in early October.

The Texas Higher Education Star Awards were established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) in 2001. They recognize exceptional contributions toward achieving one or more of the goals of the state strategic plan for higher education. This year, we are celebrating 20 years of our institutions going above and beyond to help students succeed.

Inquiries should be direct to

Star Awards Nomination and Application Information

Eligible Texas Institutions

  1. Public and independent two- and four-year colleges and universities*;
  2. Public and independent health science centers*; and
  3. Private postsecondary institutions in Texas authorized by the Coordinating Board to grant degrees**.

*A list of public and independent two- and four-year colleges and universities and health-related institutions is posted on the THECB data website.

**A list of degree-granting private postsecondary institutions (PPIs) located in Texas are included in the list of PPIs authorized by THECB.

General Eligibility

The chancellor or president of an eligible Texas system or institution must submit an “Application Cover Sheet,” along with a description (up to four pages) of how the institution has responded during the COVID-19 pandemic, with an emphasis on innovations to ensure the health, safety, and success of their campus community and/or partnering with local/regional stakeholders and community-based organizations to respond to the pandemic.

Criteria for 2021 Star Awards

The most important criteria in evaluating final applications will be:

  1. A clear demonstration of how the institution implemented strategies to ensure the health, safety, and success – including student success – of their campus and local community during the COVID-19 health emergency;
  2. A clear demonstration of partnerships with community-based organizations, i.e., public health or non-profit organizations, and related strategies to assess and address the needs of the campus and local community during the COVID-19 health emergency; and
  3. The innovative and creative nature of one or more of the strategies used.

Application Requirements

  1. The institution’s chief executive officer as appropriate (i.e., president or chancellor) must sign the application cover sheet giving authorization for the application to be considered. Unlike past programs, the 2021 Star Awards will be limited to one application per institution.
  2. Detailed information about how the institution met/meets the three criteria described above (limited to four pages).
  3. Submit application form and materials as a PDF document(s) to by 5:00 p.m. CST on August 27, 2021. Please note that we only accept applications and supporting materials via email.

Star Awards 2021 Timeline

July 28

Applications open

August 27

Application deadline; one per institution

October 15

Finalists are notified

October 21

Finalists recognized at quarterly Board meeting

December 1-3

Opportunity for finalists to present at Leadership Conference