After 20 Years in Partnership, an Educational Combo Is Getting a Messy Divorce

Ann McClure's picture

This weekend, along the border’s southern tip, homecoming at the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College will be bittersweet for many. It will be one of the last, at least for the unique partnership between a community college and an upper-division university that operated as one institution for 20 years.

“Everything this year is going to be that way,” said Juliet V. García, who has been the only president in the history of the joint institution.

The partnership was conceived in 1991 as a cost-effective way to attract upper-level degree programs to one of the state’s most underserved regions. Often referred to as a “community university,” U.T.B./T.S.C. had open admissions like a community college, but allowed students to continue seamlessly toward a bachelor’s degree or beyond.

One year ago, the regents of the University of Texas System voted unanimously to terminate the arrangement by 2015 or sooner, citing a lack of responsiveness from the community college board, which did not fight the decision.

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