Michael Villarreal is a Ph.D. candidate in public policy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.
Michael’s research interest includes the study of higher education systems (including student counseling, recruitment, and financial aid) that lead to improving the educational experience and outcomes of students who have been historically underrepresented in higher education.
Michael is currently leading an initiative called the Student Futures Network of Region 20. This is an education policy and research collaboration that aims to improve the academic and workforce outcomes of students in the San Antonio MSA.
Michael’s current research includes an impact evaluation of TEXAS Grants, a state-funded need & merit-based student grant program. In this evaluation, he is estimating the impact of grant aid on academic and workforce outcomes, including persistence rates, enrollment levels, grade performance, graduation rates, earnings, employment rates, and industry sector of employment after expected graduation.
Michael is also evaluating the impact of early college coursework on college access and completion. In this study, he is investigating how different types of early college coursework (dual-credit vs AP) are more or less beneficial to students. He is also investigating how different attributes of dual-credit (differences in subjects taught, location, instructor qualifications) may impact student outcomes to greater or lesser degrees.
Michael retired from the Texas Legislature after serving 15 years in the Texas House of Representatives. He served on the committees of Public Education, Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, and Ways & Means; and retired as Chairman of the Financial Services Committee in 2015.