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Texas Board Requires the Phasing Out of 64 Degree Programs With Low Enrollments

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The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board voted Thursday to phase out 64 degree programs that failed to attract enough majors under stricter enrollment guidelines the board enacted last year.

Another 145 programs the board deemed underperforming are also being voluntarily cut.

The board's decisions came program by program over four hours in which a parade of higher-education leaders pleaded with the board to spare their programs.

Board members say the cuts will allow the state to use its resources more efficiently, while critics counter that the board's actions will disproportionately hurt predominantly minority colleges and programs in mathematics and science.

Thirteen of the state's 25 undergraduate physics degree programs, for instance, were judged "underperforming." The board voted to phase out or consolidate six of them.

In all, the board identified 545 programs statewide that were underenrolled according to its new, more-stringent standards. For a bachelor's or associate degree, a program is defined as being underenrolled if it produced fewer than five majors per year, averaged over five years. The threshold for a master's degree is three per year, and for a doctorate, it's two per year.

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