UT institutions receive more than $8 million for innovative programs to boost student success

AUSTIN—Five University of Texas institutions will receive $8.2 million allocated by the UT System Board of Regents to fund innovative campus-based projects designed to enhance student success.

Through a competitive process, the UT’s academic institutions prepared grant proposals in response to a Request for Proposals. Grants were evaluated by higher education experts outside of Texas as well as UT System reviewers, including Regent Sara Martinez Tucker, Deputy Chancellor David Daniel and Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Rebecca Karoff.

Proposals were evaluated based on the case they made for momentous change, that is, projects that would take bold, outcomes-focused, data-driven, and sustainable approaches to student success with new or scaled-up initiatives with proven track records. Additionally, all proposals addressed one or more of three research-identified pillars that form the foundation of the System’s initiative to Make a Quantum Leap in Student Success: Finances, Advising and Belonging.

  • The University of Texas at San Antonio will receive two awards: $635,909 for Project LEAD/Leadership, Engagement, Academics, and Dedication: Onboarding and Bridging to Improve Student Success, Retention and Graduation; and $2.97 million for the UTSA Emporium Math Core Curriculum Redesign and Scale-Up: STEM and Business.
     
  • The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley will receive $1.6 million for Focusing on Student Success: College-Based Success Teams and Student Compacts.
     
  • The University of Texas at Tyler will receive $803,234 to support OnCourse: A suite of course-level supports to increase first-year GPA and retention of first-time, full-time freshmen at UT Tyler.
     
  • The University of Texas at Dallas will receive $1 million for Student Engagement through Collaboration, Mentorship and Service Learning.
     
  • The University of Texas at El Paso will receive $1.2 million to implement a new Post-Traditional Holistic Advising Model.

As part of the $10 million allocated by the Board of Regents in February, each of UT’s eight academic institutions will also receive funding to support Graduation Help Desks, which are one-stop shops (virtual or brick and mortar) for students who encounter barriers in the path to timely graduation and have nowhere else to turn.

A total of almost $1.7 million will provide dedicated staff and infrastructure to help students graduate on time by connecting them to the right people and resources across campus. Modeled after a successful program at the University of Texas at Austin, these centralized help desks allow institutions to identify barriers to graduation that might not otherwise be recognized by individual departments or colleges.

“The Board of Regents is sharply focused on rewarding excellence and investing in strong academic support to students,” Tucker said. “The best return on investment—to students, families and the State of Texas—comes when we do everything we can to help students enroll in our institutions, work hard and complete their degrees in a timely fashion. These student success grants are designed to accomplish that.”

The student success effort is aligned with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s 60X30 Plan, which calls for at least 60 percent of Texans ages 25-34 to have a certificate or degree by 2030.

“We designated Student Success as a Quantum Leap effort because it should be clear to everyone that putting our students on the road to success is, and always will be, job one,” Chancellor William H. McRaven said. “Providing institutions with the resources to create and expand innovative programs that support and motivate students to earn their degree and make the most of their time in college is exactly the type of investment we should be making, and I’m grateful to the regents for their support.”

The goal of the UT System’s Student Success initiative is to ensure that every UT student is prepared and positioned to succeed in high-quality learning environments, supported by three pillars that are continuously reinforced with data:

  • Finances: The UT System will do everything in its power to ensure that no student drops out of college because of finances.
     
  • Advising: Every UT student will receive the advising needed to follow clear pathways to degree completion and beyond.
     
  • Belonging: Every UT student will feel like they belong in college. No student would be unable to persist or graduate because of a lack of engagement or a sense of not belonging.

About The University of Texas System

Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking basic, applied and clinical research, and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. With 14 institutions and an enrollment of more than 228,000 students, the UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates approximately two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public institutions in Texas. The UT System’s operating budget for FY 2017 is $17.9 billion, including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With more than 20,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and many members of the National Academies – and nearly 80,000 health care professionals, researchers, student advisors and support staff, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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Jenny LaCoste-Caputo: jcaputo@utsystem.edu  • 512-499-4361(direct) • 512-574-5777 (cell) 
Karen Adler: kadler@utsystem.edu  • 512-499-4360 (direct) • 210-912-8055 (cell)