11/05/2013 10:05 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Burden vs. Opportunity

Consistently reverberating in family living rooms, high schools, college campuses and in the media throughout the country are the increasing costs associated with higher education. Almost daily, families face the burden of paying for college. However, it's unfortunate that the prospect to expand one's academic profile and create more opportunities in the future is labeled a "burden."

Yet, this is the reality with which prospective college students and their families are faced. Reports have emerged recently showing college costs stabilizing somewhat. While these reports provide a proverbial silver lining in an otherwise difficult situation, it is nonetheless still challenging to pay for college for a majority of families.

Colleges and universities across the country recognize this dilemma and many have instituted practices and procedures to help alleviate the burden without compromising the daily operation and academic priorities provided as part of the educational experience. This year, Texas Tech University is one of a handful of institutions nationally to not increase tuition and fees out of respect for this dilemma and offer families a brief respite.

By making strategic budgetary decisions across the board at Texas Tech and being more entrepreneurial as an institution, we were able to accomplish this, while also continuing the forward momentum we've enjoyed as a university in recent years. For example, the university brought 130 new faculty positions on board this fall and anticipate many new faculty hires this academic year. This is just one of the examples of moving forward, while managing carefully one of our primary sources of funding.

Consistently over the last three years, and per the U.S. News & World Report rankings, Texas Tech is among the leading institutions whose students graduate with the least debt. We are proud of this fact and more so that we have successfully implemented strategies and plans to offset rising operating costs, while recognizing more limited state appropriations.

While we can't hold tuition and fees at a standstill forever, we continue to study and explore cost-saving measures in other areas we can pass on to our students. At Texas Tech, this is an ongoing process, a year-round approach that keeps us ahead of this annual issue.

Our success as public institutions of higher learning hinges on the ability to provide access to prospective college students, those who yearn to expand their educational pursuits, and provide enhanced opportunities for employment upon graduation. These students represent potential leaders, scientists, engineers, educators, doctors and lawyers. Our actions now will have a tremendous effect on our future.