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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

UTA, A&M to ease costs for TCC transfers

By Charity Montieth/managing editor

The University of Texas at Arlington and Texas A&M University recently announced new programs that would potentially ease the admissions process for many TCC students to their institutions.

The University of Texas at Arlington recently unveiled its Maverick Promise, a program that will fully cover tuition costs for qualifying low-income students.

And in one of his final acts as Texas A&M University president, Dr. Robert Gates launched a program to guarantee admission for qualified transfer students.

“ It’s such a gift to our students; it’s like finding money,” Dr. Jane Harper, NE Campus humanities divisional dean said.

TCC students outperform 
Texas A&M and UTA have conducted extensive studies to measure the success of transfer students.

Both universities have found that statistically, students who transfer from a community college to a university in their junior year attain higher GPAs than their counterparts who entered the university at the freshman level.

Moreover, community college students are more likely to graduate and move on to grad school.

Based on these findings, UTA and A&M are now actively recruiting community college students, in part to boost graduation rates.

Harper said attending community colleges can be a stepping stone for students who may need extra support from resources such as a writing center or open computer labs and the early support is one reason for the success of transfer students.

“ [TCC students] can learn college study skills while improving their academic capacity; we truly do teach that,” she said.

Bob Wright, UTA’s director of public relations, agrees.

“ Over the years, TCC students have been our top performing students,” he said. “TCC does an excellent job of preparing its students for success.”

UTA’s Maverick Promise 
The university’s new financial aid package guarantees free tuition for undergraduate Texas residents with an annual family income of $25,000 or less.

Students must be eligible for the federal Pell grant, take a minimum of six credit hours per semester and remain in good academic standing as dictated by financial aid requirements.

Incoming freshmen can receive up to five years tuition; incoming transfers can receive up to three years, and current students will receive prorated funding not to exceed four years. Students must reapply for Maverick Promise funding annually. The program will go into effect in fall 2007 and is open to students who meets requirements.

The Maverick Promise does not provide funding for costs outside tuition and mandatory fees. However, the financial aid office will assist students with other assistance packages such as loans or a work study program to allay expenses such as books and room and board.

A qualifying TCC transfer student utilizing the Maverick Promise for the entire three year period could stand to save almost $20,000 in tuition, based on average figures for full-time students provided by the university’s Web site.

“ The purpose of the program is to get low-income students to realize that if they can maintain their grades, their income is not a problem,” Wright said.

UTA hopes to refute the common misconception among low-income students that higher education is not affordable, Wright said.

Everyone who meets the criteria is encouraged to apply for the Maverick Promise, Wright said. The financial aid office will first apply any grants the student is eligible for, then seek out and apply scholarship funding toward tuition.

The university will then pay for any remaining tuition and mandatory fees through funding that has been set up through the Texas State Legislature.

Students must be admitted to UTA and have all financial aid forms submitted by April 1 to receive Maverick Promise funding for the upcoming fall semester.

Wright said students who apply after the deadline or have a family income exceeding $25,000 are still encouraged to apply for financial assistance, as UTA offers numerous financial aid packages.

A&M’s Transfer Initiative

Before moving on to the his new position as Secretary of Defense, Dr. Robert Gates, former Texas A&M university president, spearheaded a pilot program that would guarantee admission to incoming transfer students from select community colleges across the state of Texas.

Of nine community colleges, TCC’s NE Campus was included in the partnership.

To qualify, students must maintain a 3.0 GPA after taking a minimum of 24 credit hours that apply to one of the following degree plans: agriculture and life science, education and human development, engineering, geosciences or science.

After choosing their major, students must complete the core for the specified degree plan, which in most cases requires more than 24 credit hours.

Students who have not completed their degree plans may still apply for admission.

However, Scott McDonald, director of admissions for A&M, said they will not be guaranteed admission until the degree plan is completed.

Because this is a pilot program, the NE Campus is the only TCC campus eligible for the program at this time. Students who are enrolled on multiple campuses or online, must take at least one class on NE Campus.

“ As long as you are taking one class on NE Campus, I consider you a NE Campus student,” Dr. Larry Darlage, NE Campus president, said.

Other local participating community colleges are Collin County Community College in Allen and Richland College in Dallas. The community colleges were selected based on their proximity to Texas A&M’s Regional Prospective Student Centers.

According to McDonald, Texas A&M has definite plans to include additional community colleges in the future.

“ There is a high level of competition at the flagship schools,” Harper said.

“ To be guaranteed admission to a flagship school is an exciting opportunity for [NE Campus] students.”

To apply as a conventional transfer student at A&M, students must complete 24 hours and maintain a 2.5 GPA; however the student is not guaranteed admission. Statistically, only about two-thirds of transfer applicants are accepted.

For preliminary information about the guaranteed transfer program, interested students should contact the Texas A&M Regional Prospective Student Center in Dallas.

At press time, NE Campus counselors have not yet received finalized course information to advise students. TCC administrators hope to receive that information in the near future.

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