Hance: ASU to run lean, mean

Go San Angelo - Kent R. Hance, chancellor of the Texas Tech University System, told the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce that Angelo State University and other members of the TTUS, will be 'running lean and mean' in the wake of state funding cuts to higher education.

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Kent R. Hance, chancellor of the Texas Tech University System, told the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce that Angelo State University and other members of the TTUS, will be "running lean and mean" in the wake of state funding cuts to higher education.

Hance, the featured speaker Tuesday at the chamber's monthly luncheon, said the cuts to higher education "could have been worse."

The system is facing a funding shortfall of $67 million, and expects student enrollment to increase by 2,000.

Angelo State University, which at one point faced a possible shortfall in state funding as high as $12 million, will get $7 million less from the state over the next two years.

Hance said the university system is working on strategies to increase enrollment, especially in areas where there are jobs for graduates.

"Nursing and pharmacy are big areas," Hance said. "The fields always will have jobs."

"And as for jobs, Tech posted openings for recruiters, and had 127 people apply," Hance said about the competitiveness of the modern job market. "There are a lot of people out there that do not have jobs, and you have to be mindful of that."

Hance said ASU plans on reaching out to larger cities such as Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth to boost enrollment, which also would benefit San Angelo.

"We want grow this university to 10,000 students by 2020," Hance said. "Those students might come down here, stay here and like it and won't leave."

Hance also said ASU is redirecting its scholarship funds from the Carr Foundation "to aim at the excellent student who won't make test scores high enough to get scholarships elsewhere. But at Angelo State, we will give them scholarships."

ASU already is seeing enrollment growth, and expects as many as 7,000 students to be enrolled in the fall, which would be the most in the school's history, Hance said.

"We were very successful with this ambitious plan," he said. "You are going to see the brightest students at Angelo State University receiving scholarships up to $2,000, who might have gotten overlooked at other universities.

"That is a heck of a bargain," Hance said, comparing ASU to other state universities that charge upward of "$50,000 a year."

"You are going to be getting a great education here," said Hance.

Another goal for ASU is retention, helping students stay in school and graduate.

"We are working on retention in two areas. We are targeting raising requirements on getting in, and target students and make sure they get the right help," Hance said.

The general goal is to have every student who enrolls in Angelo State University graduate from ASU, Hance said.

Hance cited ASU's Center for Security Studies and its distance learning programs as strengths.

"Our national security studies will be a huge program" Hance said. "Our distance learning aspect will be one of the largest programs in the last 20 years and will bring more people to this area and more students to Angelo State."

Hance also said ASU is growing the alumni program, by "growing our base and growing contributions."

Before becoming a chancellor, Hance was a partner in an Austin law firm and in 1974 won a seat in the Texas State Senate.

Hance has held the office of chancellor since 2006, and is the chief executive officer of all campuses and academic sites of Texas Tech University, including the Texas Tech University Health Services Center and Angelo State University.

The next chamber luncheon will be held Aug. 9 at the West Texas Training Center.

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