- A number of two- and four-year institutions in Houston have joined together in a new initiative to create pathways to raise graduation rates and boost student success across the city. The University of Houston System, Texas Southern University, the Houston Community College System, Lone Star College System, San Jacinto College District, Wharton County Junior College and Victoria College and College of the Mainland signed onto the initiative called Houston GPS.
- Realizing most students will transfer between institutions at least once, the initiative calls on the universities and colleges to put the needs of students ahead of needs of the institution to create guided pathways that extend to all participating institutions and map math courses to specific careers, according to Inside Higher Ed.
- In addition to trying to make the transfer process easier, Houston GPS looks to streamline students' pathways to degree. Any remediation students need will be achieved through a co-requisite model, rather than through additional classes.
Some administrators have mused that if institutions were allowed to talk among themselves about tuition and other price setting conversations, the cost of tuition across the board could be brought down significantly. Currently, anti-trust and collusion laws discourage such discussions.
And while the jury is out on whether this theory holds weight, certainly more collaboration between institutions on curricular matters — and even resource-sharing — is needed on a larger scale to promote both better student success and institutional sustainability.
The more institutions can form consortia and collaborate to share expenses and work together to negotiate service contracts at scale, the better each institution will be able to provide additional services and staff to support students on campus, and possibly reduce tuition fees by cutting the overhead cost.
Whether it is increased collaboration between community colleges and four-year institutions to smooth transition points for students, or it's nonprofit and for-profit entities combining the administrative strengths of one institution with the academic strengths of the other, even like institutions combining for greater reach and capacity, increased collaboration helps all of the associated institutions. And, of course, it helps students who more often transfer between institutions and change majors and are looking for faster completion times and smoother pathways between institutions.