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UT Austin and Texas Tech Expand High School Access to College-Level Courses

To improve college readiness and student success statewide, UT Austin is collaborating with Texas Tech University to expand the dual enrollment initiative TEXAS OnRamps.

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AUSTIN, Texas — To improve college readiness and student success statewide, The University of Texas at Austin is collaborating with Texas Tech University to expand the dual enrollment initiative TEXAS OnRamps.

OnRamps facilitates early exposure for high school students to college-level coursework delivered on their high school campuses, with support from university faculty and academic departments. UT Austin created the program in 2011 in partnership with the Texas Higher Education Leaders Consortium with support from the Texas Legislature, Lumina Foundation, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the National Science Foundation. A founding member of the consortium along with UT Austin, Texas Tech University will replicate and expand OnRamps, increasing Lubbock high school students’ opportunities to earn transferable, core curriculum college credit in statistics and pre-calculus starting in fall 2016.

“At UT Austin, we are enthusiastic about partnering with Texas Tech University to scale OnRamps. Our universities share a deep commitment to increasing student success and expanding educational opportunity, and this partnership will allow our faculty members to extend access to high quality dual enrollment courses to many more Texas high school students and teachers,” said Harrison Keller, deputy to the president for strategy and policy at UT Austin and founder of the OnRamps initiative.

“This innovative dual enrollment program aims to provide high school students with the skill set and content knowledge that they will need to be successful in foundational coursework at the college level,” said Lawrence Schovanec, provost of Texas Tech University. “Texas Tech University is excited about the inaugural year of this student-centered venture and the benefits of this joint effort with our high school partners and UT Austin.”

OnRamps courses are delivered through partnerships between universities and school districts so that students can experience college courses while in high school. The high school teachers who facilitate the courses participate in yearlong professional learning activities, including residential institutes and workshops on the university campuses, to help them implement OnRamps for high school credit. Faculty members at each university are responsible for grading students’ college coursework and for the provision of the college credit.

In 2015-2016, OnRamps served more than 3,300 students and 100 teachers in over 30 districts and 66 high schools with five courses. The initiative hopes to engage more than 6,000 students in seven courses during the 2016-17 academic year through partnerships such as this one with Texas Tech University. More Texas students will be ready to excel on day one of college because of the rigorous experiences in OnRamps aligned with the expectations of leading colleges and research universities, said Julie Schell, director of OnRamps and strategic initiatives at UT Austin.