A $605,000 grant from Greater Texas Foundation will help UNT fund scholarships for early college high school graduates, highly motivated students who have already finished up to 60 hours of college credit while earning their high school diploma. The program will be called the Greater Texas Foundation Scholars Program and will be specifically for early college high school graduates who come to UNT.
UNT is among five Texas universities receiving grant funding from Greater Texas Foundation for the scholarship program, and is the only university in the North Texas region. The funds establish the state's first scholarship program designed specifically for the growing number of early college high school graduates in Texas. The Greater Texas Foundation Scholars: Scholarships for Graduates of Early College High Schools program was established to increase the number of Texas early college high school graduates who successfully transition to a four-year institution of higher education and complete a baccalaureate degree. GTF Scholars is expected to provide more than $3 million in financial assistance to more than 700 students across Texas, and more than 100 at UNT over the next six years.
"The generosity and forward thinking of Greater Texas Foundation is empowering us to make leaps forward in our university's strength of services for these bright young students. UNT was an advocate for Early College High Schools when we helped many begin in the DFW area and this builds on our commitment," says Troy Johnson, vice provost for enrollment, and chair of the UNT Early College High School Planning Committee.
The grant will help UNT to build a bachelor's degree completion system for early college high school students. That system will include an outreach plan to connect with early college high school students well before they finish an associate's degree, maximize credit transfers for early college high school courses, maximize financial aid and scholarships, build transition plans specific to the needs of early college high school students, and establish comprehensive program assessments.
"Early college high schools are creating a means to higher education for first-generation college-going students," says Wynn Rosser, Greater Texas Foundation executive director. "By succeeding in rigorous high school and community college courses, students in early college high schools begin to gain knowledge, skills, confidence and motivation to succeed at a four-year institution."
Texas is home to 49 early college high school campuses, currently serving more than 10,000 students statewide. Early college high schools blend high school and college curricula into a simultaneous educational experience that gives traditionally underserved students the chance to earn up to two years (or 60 hours) of college credit while they finish high school.
"At early college high schools across Texas, lives are literally being changed as students get a taste of college life and academic success in the high education environment," says John Fitzpatrick, executive director of Texas High School Project. "With the establishment of GTF Scholars, the future of many families and of our state has become brighter."
About the Greater Texas Foundation
Greater Texas Foundation is a statewide education grantmaker, based in Bryan, Texas. The foundation's mission is to support efforts to ensure all Texas students are prepared for, have access to, persist in, and complete a postsecondary education. Greater Texas Foundation puts particular focus on helping underserved and disadvantaged populations. Greater Texas Foundation pursues its mission by forming partnerships, supporting research, sharing knowledge, and making grants. From 2002 through 2010, the foundation's grantmaking totaled $29.8 million from more than 400 grants.
Leslie Wimmer with UNT News Service can be reached at Leslie.Wimmer@unt.edu.