AUSTIN, Texas—The Texas New Generation Scholarship, a $10,000 award aimed at Texans who will be of the first generation in their families to pursue higher education, has been introduced by the Office of Student Financial Services at The University of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Larry Burt, director of the Office of Student Financial Services, said the scholarship, which will be given in $2,500 annual awards over four years, represents a "total person response," which includes funding, recognition, housing, tutoring, mentoring and full academic support in a residence hall on campus.
Under the Texas New Generation Scholarship the university will make a support package commitment to at least one first-generation graduate from each of 78 Texas high schools designated by the state legislature as being underrepresented in Texas colleges and universities.
Students also will be eligible for substantial need-based financial aid. Scholarship winners will be guaranteed housing and be part of either Academic Enrichment Services or the Connexus academic support program. They will receive a cash award for four years. Qualifying first-generation students must graduate in the top 10 percent of their high school class. Renewal grade-point average requirements will apply.
This scholarship program will be modeled after the successful Longhorn Opportunity Scholarship program. The university will seek to stimulate first-generation enrollment by offering not only scholarship funds, but perhaps even more important, by proactively addressing the academic, social and economic factors that have been shown to help students succeed.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has forecasted that by 2015 the state of Texas will need to provide for an additional 500,000 college students. If Texas is to close the future gaps in the education levels of the state’s college-age population, the higher education enrollment rate of under-represented, first-generation populations must be specifically targeted for improvement.
“This scholarship will harness the energy of two statewide initiatives that have been put forth to address these growing enrollment disparities,” said Burt, creator of the new scholarship. “The first is the ‘Closing the Gaps’ initiative administered by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and the second is House Bill 400 passed in the 2001 legislative session.”
Closing the Gaps by 2015 was adopted in October 2000 by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
The plan proposes to close the gaps in student participation, student success, excellence and research by 2015. HB 400 was designed to address the under-representation at Texas universities of a number of high schools. The legislation specified 78 Texas high schools must enter into an agreement with a public institution of higher education to devise a plan to increase their percentage of college attendees. This program is designed to assist all 78 high schools, not just those in the Austin metropolitan area.
New Generation scholarship students will receive a support package that includes a place in the residence halls and participation in the broader academic community with a grounded academic home through the Academic Enrichment Services or the Connexus program, as well as free tutoring and mentoring opportunities.
This total person response (funding, recognition, housing, tutoring, mentoring and full academic support in a permanent home on campus) has been found to be the most effective way to turn a first-generation enrollee into a college graduate, Burt said.
For more information on the scholarship contact the Office of Student Financial Services at 512-475-6282.