Representative Dan Branch, Republican of Dallas, does not want to hear about the state’s education goals not being met.
“It makes me very sad and frustrated,” Mr. Branch said at a recent hearing of the House Higher Education Committee, which he heads. “I get heartburn, and I tend to get cranky.”
At that hearing, Raymund A. Paredes, the state’s higher education commissioner, outlined Texas’ latest enrollment numbers. According to preliminary data gathered by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the total number of students attending college this fall increased by just 12,000, to about 1.563 million, over the previous year, a significant slowing in the state’s progress toward its objectives.
The state set its growth record in 2009, when fall enrollment climbed by 122,000 in a year. Mr. Paredes told the committee he was “stunned” that three years later the growth rate was so much lower. He said he had expected a decline, but he would have been more comfortable with an increase of 30,000 to 40,000 students.