Texas Tech President Speaks At Statewide Education Forum

Texas Tech University President Jon Whitmore speaks on better preparing students for college during the Texas Public Education Reform Foundation's Statewide Education Summit in Austin.

Texas Tech University President Jon Whitmore will speak on better preparing students for college Friday (Feb. 16) during the Texas Public Education Reform Foundation's Statewide Education Summit in Austin.

“There is more pressure than ever before on high schools to not only graduate students, but to make sure they are prepared to go to college,” said Whitmore. “Texas Tech realizes that universities and colleges must partner with K-12 schools, parents and entire communities to prepare all students for postsecondary education.”

Whitmore is part of a panel addressing “Better Preparing Students for College: Alignment, Affordability and Accountability.” Other panelists include: William Powers Jr., president, the University of Texas at Austin; Larry Faulkner, president of the Houston Foundation and former president of UT-Austin; Jay Gogue, president of the University of Houston System and R. Gerald Turner, president of Southern Methodist University.

The one-day summit features presentations from higher education leaders, business executives such as Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple; Michael Dell, chair of the board of Dell, Ross Perot, foundation executives and policy makers. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison will deliver the keynote address at the summit.

“My personal message to Texas students is that it is never too early to start to prepare for college. To that end, Texas Tech is reaching out to encourage K-12 students to take more challenging courses, complete high school and get ready for college,” Whitmore said. “Ranging from reading programs, to engineering and science programs for girls, to a pre-law institute at a minority high school, Texas Tech is putting in place initiatives to enhance the quality of our schools and the preparation of teachers and students.”

Affordability is another critical issue facing many Texas families. This week, Texas Tech announced the Red Raider Guarantee program which will cover tuition and fees for all new freshman students from Texas who’s adjusted gross income does not exceed $40,000.

Two years ago, Texas Tech became the first public university in the state to offer entering students a Graduate On Time Contract, which gives student incentive to graduate in a timely manner, saving on tuition and beginning to earn a salary sooner.

“If Texas can focus on being responsive to real issues of access and affordability and scale up successful programs such as Texas Tech has developed, we can meet the needs of a broad spectrum of K-12 schools and begin to fulfill a community-wide, indeed, a statewide responsibility to the children of Texas,” Whitmore said.