A $310,000 grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to UNT will boost the university's efforts to increase college enrollment among first-generation college students. The grant is the largest awarded to the 32 universities that received funding to operate G-Force programs.
Thanks to the Work-Study Student Mentorship Program grant, UNT will be able to hire more students to work for the G-Force program. The program is part of the Closing the Gaps initiative launched by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Closing the Gaps aims to enroll 630,000 more students in Texas colleges and universities by 2015.
UNT G-Force mentors develop and supervise Go Centers at area high schools to encourage more students in North Texas to graduate from high school and go to college.
"The work performed by G-Force mentors directly impacts the lives of the thousands of students that they encounter in the high school Go Centers," says Patrick Vasquez, director of UNT's Office of Outreach and Community Involvement. "Through their efforts, high school students receive encouragement, mentorship and learn how to complete college applications, write scholarship essays, and understand the financial aid application process."
Go Centers are physical spaces in participating high schools that provide prospective college students with information related to college and career options as well as opportunities for financial aid and mentoring. Many of the students G-Force mentors work with are from groups that are underrepresented in colleges and universities.
All $310,000 of the two-year grant will be used to pay the G-Force members. Currently, there are 50 G-Force student mentors who staff nine high school Go Centers and mentor prospective college students. Other expenses of the Go Centers and G-Force initiatives are funded by UNT's Office of Outreach and Community Involvement.
"The Office of Outreach and Community Involvement has illustrated a strong commitment to this project by providing the infrastructure required to grow the program every year and to implement this outreach initiative," Vasquez says.
UNT's G-Force program operates through nine Go Centers in the following locations:
- Dallas Independent School District – L.G. Pinkston High School, Roosevelt High School and Thomas Jefferson High School
- Decatur Independent School District - Decatur High School
- Denton Independent School District - Denton High School and Ryan High School
- Fort Worth Independent School District - Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School and O.D. Wyatt High School
- Frisco Independent School District - Wakeland High School
The program plans to add additional Go Centers this academic year.
Buddy Price with UNT News Service can be reached at Buddy.Price@unt.edu.