In May of 2008, Gov. Rick Perry convened an unprecedented joint meeting of the boards of Texas’s three major university systems — the University of Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech — and laid out an agenda for reforming the state’s higher-education system, a plan to lower costs and raise the quality of both teaching and research. There is real reason for Governor Perry’s concern: Tuition, though still quite low in Texas, has been climbing for years, an unwelcome development, and the state’s higher-ed flagship, the University of Texas at Austin, barely makes the top-50 list in the college rankings, while Texas A&M comes in at No. 71, and Texas Tech . . . the less said about that the better.
Governor Perry offered up a list of proposals, now known far and wide as the “Seven Solutions,” drawn up by his office in conjunction with the free-market Texas Public Policy Foundation and the entrepreneur Jeff Sandefer, a former University of Texas adjunct professor, founder of the Acton School of Business in Austin, and a former member of the board of National Review.