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UT Arlington receives grant to operate college readiness program

News Release — 9 November 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media contact: Timothy R. Brown, (817) 272-9208, trbrown@uta.edu

ARLINGTON - The University of Texas at Arlington has received the additional funding necessary to operate the UT Arlington and Arlington ISD College Readiness Program to prepare first-generation minority students for postsecondary education.

Dr. Carla Amaro-Jiménez, visiting assistant professor of Bilingual/ESL Education at UT Arlington, and Dr. Luis Rosado, director of the UT Arlington Center for Bilingual Education, obtained the $68,000 grant from AmeriCorps.

The grant will be used to buy supplies, including laptop computers, and for the hiring of a part-time program coordinator. Training and travel expenses will also be covered by the grant.  

The money brings the total program funding to $388,000. Amaro-Jiménez and Rosado obtained $270,000 and $50,000 grants in September from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to create the college readiness program.

About 25 first-generation college students in different majors from the university will be recruited through the program to function as mentors to students at Arlington, Lamar, and Juan Seguin high schools in the Arlington ISD.

The mentors will manage centers at the high schools and work a maximum of 20 hours a week to provide preparation for the SAT and ACT examinations. They will also assist students in the application process for financial aid, the college selection process, the selection of a major and offer strategies to cope in high school and college.

With the AmeriCorps grant, mentors may also qualify for an AmeriCorps Post-Service Education Award if they comply with AmeriCorps requirements. One of the requirements is to provide a minimum of 675 hours of service at the high schools. The award will help those who qualify cover some of their tuition costs, up to $1,800, upon successful completion of their service.

The UT Arlington College of Education and Health Professions will use the $50,000 grant to improve the graduation rates of Latino students at the three high schools and boost Latino students' rate of enrollment in college by 20 percent. The 20-percent goal is part of the P-16 effort designed to connect pre-school, K-12 and postsecondary education by helping students make easier transitions for one level to the next.

Latinos are the largest minority group in the nation, but only 6.5 percent of Latino students in Texas go to college. 
 

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