This isn’t exactly an earth-shattering post here, but I was curious about the proportion of academic to technical students at the various state-owned tech schools, particularly the Lamars, so I wandered off and queried the Texas Higher Education Accountability System run by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The image below was the result of my curiosity (click on it to enlarge).
The two Lamar state colleges, as opposed to the Lamar Institute of Technology, have a relatively large proportion of academic students, but what really leaped out at me was Harlingen’s numbers. TSTC Harlingen had almost 1300 more academic students than it had technical students. That “technical college” is more of a community college if these numbers mean anything. TSTC Harlingen is obviously serving a need in South Texas, so good for the folks working there. Working both sides of the fence also has made TSTC Harlingen a bit more resilient than other TSTC colleges to economic and policy shifts. While TSTC West Texas was being blown around like a tumbleweed, plummeting from 476 first-time, full-time students to a mere 26 in that key demographic at one point, Harlingen’s deep academic and technical roots kept the college flourishing. I also think TSTC Harlingen’s no-nonsense president, President Cesar Maldonado, had a little something to do with that, as well.
I was a little surprised to see Marshall’s academic students amount to almost 34% of its total student population, too. Perhaps that has something to do with its more rural setting.
It looks to me like the “purest” technical college, in terms of sticking closest to its technical education mission, is the Lamar Institute of Technology. It had only 26 academic students in 2012. That was way less than 1%, specifically a miniscule .006%, of its total student population.
All in all, it was an eye-opening little query. I’ll be posting about TSTC Marshall and a claim made by one of its officials soon. Keep an eye on the blog!