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E-TIP Signing Ceremony

May 6, 2016


Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen.  Thank you for joining us here today as two of the largest institutions of higher education in Tarrant County take a step together, working as a team across institutional boundaries, to not only provide greater avenues for the education of our citizens and ensure their success but also respond to meet the challenge set by the state in its 60x30 plan.

Let me at the outset thank Mayor Price and Judge Whitley for the tremendous support that they provide to all of us.  Their championing of education has been a catalyst for the many initiatives now taking place to ensure that Tarrant County becomes one of the very best.  As President of UTA, I couldn’t be prouder of the leadership being shown by two of our most distinguished alumni – you set a high bar and we will not let you down.

Let me also acknowledge the architect behind the step we are taking today.  When I first joined UTA, Chancellor Johnson Hadley invited me to visit her and reminded me of why the two of us were in our positions – to serve our students, to ensure a better tomorrow for them and, through them, for their families and our community.  We miss her deeply but I’m sure she’s looking down and pointing out that this is just the first step and that we cannot stop until every student’s educational needs are served.

While education is the great equalizer, today it is at a crossroads.   Student retention and progression are national issues of import and one can find statistics provided by various agencies showing that 1.2 million students drop out of high school every year.  Put another way, one student drops out every 26 seconds.  While that is a scary statistic, it’s perhaps even more worrying that since 2009 there have been more American adults who have dropped out of college than those who have dropped out of high school and the gap keeps widening. 

While the value of education for economic prosperity has never been higher the attainment of that education is perhaps becoming increasingly distant for a growing percentage of our population.  

It is against this background and the tremendous needs for workforce development, generation of highly skilled intellectual capital, and for ensuring economic prosperity for the state, that I’m pleased to announce a landmark memorandum of agreement between TCC and UTA. 

For too long now we have complained about the challenges of credit transfer.  We must work to ensure that students are both adequately informed and advised about the courses that can, and cannot, be taken for specific majors and that when selected appropriately the courses not only transfer but count towards degree completion.  Collaboration in advising including through the early transfer identification program enabling sharing of educational records for purposes of advising, and the development of degree plans that clearly identify courses to be completed at the two-year college – are all steps that need to be implemented and today’s signing enables that to become a reality.

The Early Transfer Identification Program, or E-TIP, enables the two institutions to identify potential transfer students early in their academic careers, create a UTA admissions record for prospective transfer students and guide each student along a clear pathway to a college degree. 

Admissions counselors will advise transfer students on degree plans and which courses will count toward their intended degree, assisting prospective transfer students avoid courses that won’t count toward their major, saving money and time toward degree completion.  Prospective transfer students will essentially be pre-admitted to UTA and will not need to file a separate application, again decreasing the barriers to progression.  Students in the program will not only benefit from specific workshops, but will also be able to attend key events at UTA, enabling a smoother integration into the general population, thereby increasing the rate of transfer success.  Further students will be able to “lock-in” rates of tuition at UTA using the guaranteed tuition plan to ensure a constant rate for four years from their start as first time college students. 

A “reverse articulation” agreement will also ensure that appropriate UTA course credits count toward a Tarrant County College associate’s degree so that more students who enroll in the two-year college will earn a degree from their first institution.

This agreement provides more than transfer identification and sharing of pertinent records.  It brings together two distinct educational entities – a 2 year college system and Tarrant County’s Carnegie R-1 research university, responding to student needs as a single unit and enabling the student to move from lower division through upper division and to graduation with a degree as though they were at one institution.

Just consider the power of this partnership, ensuring access, excellence and affordability, replacing elitism with opportunity, and simplifying rather than complicating the methods by which students apply, gain admission, and complete a degree.

I look forward to UTA not just serving more students, but ensuring a significantly higher level of completion and success and in doing so, further catalyzing the economic development and prosperity of our community.  Thank you for being here.