TG awards grants to support student success in higher education
Posted: 02/22/2006
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The University of Texas-Pan American was awarded two grants totaling $87,893 from TG's Public Benefit Grant Program to help fund efforts that will lead to greater opportunities and access to higher education and greater student success in preparing for and earning a college degree.

Specifically, the grant will support two innovative projects including a Mobile GO Center to bring college access and financial aid information to South Texas students and parents, and a Peer Advisor Project to assist UTPA students in making better academic choices.

Pictured from left to right at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Moblie GO Center Feb. 17 are Salomón Torres, district director for Congressman Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15); James Patterson, chief financial officer/senior vice president, Finance and Administration for TG; UTPA President Dr. Blandina Cárdenas; and UTPA Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services Dr. John Edwards.
"The goal that we must have as educators is to prepare our students, not only to come to college but to succeed in college, and to not only get those degrees, but go on to advanced degrees," said UTPA President Dr. Blandina Cárdenas, during the press conference Feb. 17 to announce the grants.

The grant will provide $69,900 for the Mobile GO Center, an Internet-equipped computer lab that will be staffed by students from UTPA and other South Texas higher education institutions to assist students and parents in learning about college opportunities and financial aid. The mobile unit will be staffed by UTPA collegiate G-force members and other South Texas area high school students and sponsors to enable the establishment of permanent GO Centers within their high schools.

GO Centers are a development of the College for Texans campaign launched in 2002 by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in an effort to ensure that more Texans go to college. The campaign aims to enroll an additional 500,000 academically prepared students by 2015 in Texas universities and community and technical colleges.

The grant will also provide $17,993 to establish a Peer Advisor Project to train upper-level students to provide intensive advising services for new and current Texas Success Initiative (TSI)-affected students at the University. UTPA Counseling and Advising Center Director Lise Blankenship said the aim of the Peer Adviser Project is to provide students with the information they need to make better academic choices and realize a greater degree of success in their college careers.

UTPA was one of 20 organizations selected for funding from TG, a nonprofit business that helps create access to higher education for millions of families and students through its role as an administrator of the Federal Family Education Loan Program.

"Everyone is talking about the challenges that we have in terms of access to higher education, but this community is following those words with actions and results," James Patterson, chief financial officer/senior vice president for TG, said. "This community is doing the hard work and we commend you for doing that. Together we will create a better educated, more successful society and as a result, a better future for the state of Texas."

To qualify for the award, UTPA declared its intent to use grant funding to improve access to and participation in postsecondary education and student success, with a special emphasis on providing benefits to students who are from low- to moderate-income families.

Following the press conference a ribbon cutting was held and tours of the Mobile GO Center were available to attendees.

"Those of us in the education business, those of us in the industry and those in government service - we must make efforts like these today our guiding light," Dr. John A. Edwards, vice president for Enrollment and Student Services, said. "With your help, UTPA will continue its work toward promoting access to college and more importantly success in higher education, so that all South Texas citizens will have a better future."