Friday, November 30, 2007

Higher Education in Central Texas

An article in this week’s Austin American’s Statesman, titled “Higher Education” caught my eye when reviewing articles surrounding local news. The article featured the University of Texas’ plan and goal of reaching out to Central Texas’ High Schools with low-income rates and low college-attending rates, in hopes to motivate more students from those areas to enroll in college. The University’s plan is to sit down with the student’s parents over coffee and a pastry, Café con Leche, to discuss financial aid, scholarships, and fundamental test preparations that are available to the student. The University has been awarded over half a million dollars for this cause, with $166,000 allotted for need-based scholarships.

After reading this article and with much thought and research, I can honestly say that I truly believe that this is an exceptional example of how the Government is finally taking a stand for educational reform. Let’s face it – something has to be done! Statistics prove that the largest ethnic minority in the state of Texas is the Hispanic culture. Statistics have also proved that Hispanics have the highest high-school dropout rate in the state of Texas, with more than 50% of Hispanics not completing a high school degree. Hispanics are also labeled (through polls) as being some of the lowest paid workers in society as well as being some of the state’s lowest-income families. I believe that UT’s plan to start encouraging the students from these local, low-income areas is just the beginning of a remarkable opportunity for those less- fortunate to embrace a hope for success. I truly believe that the funds made available for need-based scholarships are just an extra incentive in motivating students to attend college. As proven through statistics and polls, there is an exceptionally strong relationship between students living in low-income areas and a lack of education; thus, the University of Texas’ passion to see students continue their education will eventually come to pass.


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Addis Umer said...

I agree with my collogue Desiree on her intake on Higher Education in Central Texas regarding the article “Higher Education” that was featured on Austin American’s Statesman. Yes Texas students and parents are in the need to understand how the higher education system works. From financial aid to the degree requirements we lack on the basic information. Many students apply to colleges and get acceptance, the next step shouldn’t be figuring out how to pay for it, but rather getting ready to start a life time experience. Exploring the adventures of education and research should be the greater part of the student’s main concern, rather than having to learn to file a FAFSA or apply for a loan. All these things could be accomplished by having to teach the materials to students who are planning to attend colleges early on, especially during their high school years when they are exploring colleges and universities.

The large sum of money that is given to the University of Texas may become an eye opening experience for many students and parents, by having to meat with the school officials they will have an aspect on how to afford higher education. There are very many opportunities for the minority students to pay for college but the only way to receive and use these scholarships and need based supports is to know the ways around the paper work.

I see this method of educating the young will succeed to minimize the first year dropout rate, and also increase the number of students who will be graduating on time. I believe higher education is becoming more accessible to Texas, knowing the system is everything to becoming a successful student at colleges. I would like to thank Desiree for bringing this issue to our attention; I believe this will be money well spent.