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Supports for First-Gen Students in Texas

January 15, 2020
 
 

A Texas nonprofit has created a report card to score the state's public institutions on how well they serve first-generation, low-income students.

ScholarShot, based in Dallas, rates the colleges using metrics like graduate outcomes, academic engagement, financial management and interventions. Twenty-eight of the state's 35 public institutions participated in the nonprofit's survey.

At the top of the list are the University of North Texas at Dallas and the University of Texas at Arlington. ScholarShot is not releasing the names of institutions that scored below a "B" grade.

The report was created to address a "blind spot" in Texas education, ScholarShot said in a news release. This blind spot is the failure to transition first-generation, low-income students from high school to college and careers.

These students represent about half of those graduating from Texas high schools annually, the group said, and more than half of students enrolled in the state's four-year public institutions are economically disadvantaged. However, about 90 percent of first-generation, low-income students leave college before graduating.

ScholarShot says that systemic failings in high schools, colleges and public policy are to blame for this issue. Its report card is intended to push state legislators to change how they distribute funds, encourage universities to improve supports for these students and inform parents and academic advisers in the state.

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