In July 2013, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board adopted changes to its rules for the annual review of the number of graduates produced by degree programs at institutions of higher education, codified as Texas Administration Code, Title 19, Chapter 4, Subchapter R, Rules 4.285 to 4.290, which were first adopted in April 2010. Rules are based on Texas Education Code, Chapter 61, Subchapter C, Section 61.0512 (f), amended by Senate Bill 215, 83rd Legislature, Regular Session 2013. As of September 1, 2013, the Coordinating Board issues recommendations for consolidation or closure to the institutions’ governing boards for programs that have had consistently very low numbers of graduates.
Low-Producing Program (LPP) Reviews
LPP Recommendations and Institutional Responsibility
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board posts an annual list of programs based on its annual Low-Producing Program review of degree programs.
Coordinating Board staff may recommend to an institution’s governing board the consolidation or closure of any non-exempt degree program (see below) that has been on the annual list of low-producing programs for three or more consecutive years (Coordinating Board Annual Report). If the governing board does not accept the recommendation, then the university system (or the institution, where a system does not exist) must identify the programs recommended for consolidation or closure on its next legislative appropriations request. In those situations, a system or institution also needs to develop a plan for the degree program to achieve the minimum standard for the degree awarded, or if the standard is not attainable, the institution needs to provide a rationale describing the merits of continuing the degree program.
Standards for Low-Producing Degree Programs
Standards for numbers of graduates of low-producing degree programs are:
- fewer than 25 graduates in five years for undergraduate programs,
- fewer than 15 graduates in five years for master’s programs, and
- fewer than 10 graduates in five years for doctoral programs.
New degree programs are exempt from LPP review for the first five years of operation. Master’s degree programs that lead directly to a doctoral program are also exempt.
Completers of career technical certificates are included with the count of similarly applied associate degree completers.
Doctoral programs include research programs leading to the award of the doctor of philosophy (PhD) and practice or special professional degrees often required to practice, such as the Juris Doctorate (JD), Doctor of Medicine (MD), and Doctor of Audiology (AUD), etc.
Inquiries regarding low-producing program reviews should be directed to Andrew Lofters.