Texas A&M Chancellor Talks Guns, Education Value and UT Rivalry

Low tuition costs, campus carry, and A&M’s relationship with the University of Texas.

By Emily DonahueJuly 15, 2015 2:14 pm

There are plenty of lists circulating the web about the top universities in the country, but how many of them focus on one of the defining factors for getting a higher education? An affordable college education is something many parents start thinking about the day their child is born.

Money Magazine ranks a student’s or parent’s return on investment yearly in their Best Colleges list. The publication recently released 2015 rankings for schools that provide the best value per tuition dollar. Several Texas colleges and universities made the list. Rice University ranked 14th, making it the best value in Texas. The University of Texas at Austin ranked 82. But way up there at number 20? A&M University. The Standard’s Emily Donahue talks with Chancellor John Sharp of A&M.

Sharp on how the school keeps tuition costs down:

“Our regents want to make sure that the last resort we encounter is raising tuition…. We have outsourced a lot of the non-academic services at A&M which has produced in the neighborhood of $300 million for the university for use on academic things. We have cut our administrative costs down…and the savings that results from that go into a pool,” Sharp says. “They use that for academic excellence. We don’t use, whenever possible, state money or public money to build buildings. We enter into partnerships. The results of that is we don’t have to raise tuition as high as other folks because we’ve found other ways to generate money.”

On campus carry laws:

“We have 11 universities within the Texas A&M system and we have asked all our presidents what their plan is for implementation. That’s due in September but we trust they’ll have a smooth implementation,” Sharp says.

On A&M’s relationship with UT-Austin and beer at sporting events:

“UT and Texas A&M are partners and brothers when it comes to legislative sessions and things like that. We joke occasionally. Obviously we couldn’t sell beer if we wanted to at A&M because SEC [Southeastern Conference], I’m told, prohibits that,” Sharp says. “When it comes to education and legislative things we’re awful serious about it.”