COMMERCE — Texas A&M University-Commerce is proud to be a part of the Texas Affordable Baccalaureate Program, creating the state’s first competency-based bachelor-level degree from a public institution, a bachelor of applied science degree with an emphasis in organizational leadership. This degree was created in answer to a challenge issued by Governor Rick Perry in 2011 to develop low-cost alternatives for earning a college degree.
A&M-Commerce faculty and administrators worked in partnership with South Texas College and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to create the degree, partnering under the College for All Texans Foundation and supported by EDUCAUSE and the Next Generation Learning Challenges Grants. The creation of this degree was also informed by community and business leaders who gave input as to the needs of graduates in the workplace.
A student coming in with no prior college credits should be able to complete the degree program in three years at a total cost of $13,000 to $15,000. Students entering the program with more completed credits can finish quicker and at a lesser cost, including a scenario for one year to complete the degree at a cost of $4,500 to $6,000. This degree plan is also unique because it includes the cost of digital textbooks in the final number.
“This is a game-changing innovation for higher education that has the potential to reshape the way that we deliver higher education in Texas,” said Dr. Dan R. Jones, president of A&M-Commerce. “But the Texas Affordable Baccalaureate Program is also firmly grounded in the A&M-Commerce mission of creating a pathway for students to earn the degree that will forever transform their lives and reshape their futures.”
The degree program will focus on relevant application of knowledge and skills and will allow students to accelerate their degree completion by demonstrating mastery of those skills. The first seven-week term began in late January at A&M-Commerce and South Texas College. The program focuses on leadership skills applicable to business, government, non-profit, or educational settings. The entire program is offered online by A&M-Commerce. South Texas College will offer both online and face-to-face delivery options. The program will culminate in a digital capstone project wherein students will apply their knowledge and skills to real-world business problems.