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New Texas law requires more class details online

Public colleges and universities in Texas face the cost of making more detailed class descriptions available online so students and parents can get a better idea of what they’re getting for their money, reports the Austin American-Statesman. Some administrators are scrambling to find the money to institute the new law, which takes effect this fall, as schools face potential funding cuts. The 2011 Texas Legislature must deal with a projected budget shortfall of up to $18 billion. “Higher education is one of the largest investments you’ll make in your life,” said the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Lois Kolkhorst of Brenham. She hopes the additional information will make students less likely to drop classes, but Martyn Gunn, vice provost for academic affairs at Texas A&M University, said he does not think students will benefit. “We’re faced with laying off faculty in the next biennium to meet the budget cuts, and here we are spending a couple of hundred thousand dollars to implement this,” said Gunn. Kolkhorst’s bill reportedly marks the first time all public institutions in the state have been ordered to make more information available to students and anyone else. The law requires information about class assignments, the curriculum, and student evaluations of faculty, plus details on department budgets, for every undergraduate class…

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