Texas Higher Education Community Launches Unified Giving Initiative to Provide Emergency Aid to College Students Impacted by Hurricane Harvey

Harvey HELP will enable individuals, institutions, foundations, and corporations to contribute funds for emergency aid for Texas college students as they recover from storm and return to classroom

AUSTIN, TEX. (Sept. 1, 2017) — Texas and national leaders from higher education associations, institutions, foundations, and businesses have come together to launch the Harvey HELP Fund, a crowd-sourced relief fund dedicated to aiding the close to 500,000 students impacted by Hurricane Harvey–almost a third of all of the college and university students in the state. Announced today, HELP, which stands for Higher Education Learning Pathways, will provide emergency funds to enable students in southeast Texas to stay on or more quickly return to their education pathway.

“The storm has disrupted hundreds of thousands of students’ lives, most of whom were just about to start the new school year. We all know students, neighbors, and fellow Texans who are now displaced from their homes, employment, schools, and are even coping with the loss of loved ones,” said Dr. Richard Rhodes, President of Austin Community College. “Like volunteers and citizens across this country, we were determined not to just stand by, but to take action. We formed Harvey HELP to pool the collective strength, resources, and passion of higher education to enable and streamline community support for these students. We want to make sure the students have what they need to overcome these challenges and return to the classroom.”

The relief efforts are being led by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), Austin Community College (ACC), Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC), Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (ICUT), Council of Public Universities Presidents and Chancellors (CPUPC), Civitas Learning, and Communities Foundations of Texas (CFT), the parent of Educate Texas.

Tax-deductible donations can be made through the Harvey HELP GoFundMe page at GoFundMe.com/HarveyHELPStudents or directly through Communities Foundation of Texas. The Communities Foundation of Texas is serving as the charitable partner as education has been a primary focus of its philanthropic investments and through Educate Texas, its statewide, public-private initiative.

Emergency aid will help students and their families recover from and manage immediate life-and-logistics emergencies so they can afford to resume their studies and complete their higher education pathways. Research shows that many students leave school because of non-academic challenges related to work, family, and personal finance. Hurricane Harvey is likely one of the most extreme examples of the range of issues that can knock students off their education pathway.

“This is an opportunity for anyone, within the higher education community or beyond, within Texas or beyond, to make a real difference,” said Dr. Mark Milliron, Co-Founder and Chief Learning Officer of Civitas Learning, one of the corporations stepping up to donate. “With Harvey HELP, everybody who believes deeply in the power of education to change lives has a simple way to get involved and help the tens of thousands of students who were planning on attending Texas colleges this Fall and are now grappling with much more pressing challenges than getting to class, including finding food, shelter, transportation, child care, health care, and more.”

To ensure that all of Harvey HELP’s funds are used in a way that best benefits students, Harvey HELP’s steering committee of nonprofit and institutional leaders will evaluate applications from colleges and universities. Approved institutions will receive Harvey HELP’s funds to support aid programs, respond to their students’ specific needs, and help with students’ school expenses – such as tuition and textbooks – as well as personal expenses like transportation, rent, and groceries.

To get involved or donate to the fund, visit www.GoFundMe.com/HarveyHELPStudents or contact Carolyn Newham at the Communities Foundation of Texas at 214-750-4146.

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About Communities Foundation of Texas: Communities Foundation of Texas works with families, companies and nonprofits to strengthen our community through a variety of charitable funds and strategic grant making initiatives. Communities Foundation of Texas is committed to serving and understanding donor needs, expertly handling complex gifts, wisely managing charitable funds, and leveraging its community knowledge to increase charitable impact. CFT professionally manages nearly 1,000 charitable funds and has awarded more than $1.7 billion in grants since its founding in 1953.

www.cftexas.org. Facebook: www.facebook.com/CFTexas Twitter: @GiveWisely

Media Contact: Ben Heverly, heverly@whiteboardadvisors.com, 202-851-3622

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Texas Community Colleges partner with state and national philanthropic organizations to launch Texas Guided Pathways

(Austin, TX) The Texas Success Center (TSC), a division of the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC), is pleased to announce the partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Greater Texas Foundation, T.L.L. Temple Foundation, and the Teagle Foundation to launch an ambitious five-year effort to implement Texas Pathways reform across all 50 community college districts in the state.

Texas Pathways is an integrated, system-wide approach to student success based on intentionally designed, clear, coherent and structured educational experiences that guides each student effectively and efficiently from the selection of their high school degree program, to entry into higher education, to attainment of high-quality credentials and careers.

Texas Pathways is patterned after the American Association of Community College (AACC) Pathways Model launched nationally in 2015. Texas Pathways is built upon three important design principles. 1) colleges’ program redesigns must pay attention to the entire student experience, rather than to just one segment of it, 2) a guided Pathways redesign is a framework that helps unify a variety of reform elements around the central goal of helping students choose, enter, and complete a program of study aligned with their goals for employment and further education, and 3) the redesign process starts with student end goals for careers and further education in mind and “backward maps” programs and supports to ensure that students are prepared for employment and education at the next level.

The opportunity for quality employment and a rewarding adult life largely depends upon completing an academic credential. The state’s new plan for higher education 60x30TX, recognizes that for Texas to remain competitive and prosperous it will need 60% of its 25- to 34-year-olds to hold a quality certificate or degree by 2030.

“Greater Texas Foundation (GTF) is pleased and excited to support the TSC’s Texas Guided Pathways initiative. GTF supports efforts to ensure all Texas students are prepared for, have access to, persist in, and complete a postsecondary education. The design principles of Texas Guided Pathways embody each of the components of our mission in a highly structured, scalable, and student-focused way. We look forward to working with TSC on this important endeavor to improve education outcomes for students across the state,” said Ralph Rushing, Chair & Interim Chief Executive, Greater Texas Foundation

“Community colleges play a critical role in educating our future workforce, and thirteen colleges in East Texas serve about 25% of all Texas community college students.  Pathways will ensure more Texans succeed in college and that our region is economically competitive,” said Dr. Wynn Rosser, President & CEO, T.L.L. Temple Foundation.

“Building on emerging research and experience in the field, Texas Pathways reflects the Texas Success Center’s commitment to support all 50 Texas community college districts’ student success efforts through a comprehensive implementation of this model,” said Dr. Cynthia Ferrell, Executive Director, TSC. She continued, “And we are so very grateful for the support of our partners at these incredible foundations as we all work to make all make Texas students successful.”

“We expect that Texas Pathways will have an enormous impact to students and the state given its scale across the more than 700,000 students who attend a Texas community college. It has the potential to radically change how students enter and get through the higher education system and efficiently achieve a quality certificate or degree,” said Jacob Fraire, President & CEO, Texas Association of Community Colleges.

 

Download Texas Pathways Launch Release (.doc)

 

Contact:  

Cynthia Ferrell (512) 476-2572 / cferrell@tacc.org

Steve Johnson at (512) 476-2572 / sjohnson@tacc.org

 

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About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life.

About the Greater Texas Foundation

Greater Texas Foundation supports efforts to ensure all Texas students are prepared for, have access to, persist in, and complete postsecondary education. We put particular focus on helping underserved and disadvantaged populations. We pursue our mission by forming partnerships, supporting research, sharing knowledge, and making grants.

About the Teagle Foundation

The Teagle Foundation works to support and strengthen liberal arts education, which we see as fundamental to meaningful work, effective citizenship, and a fulfilling life. Our aim is to serve as a catalyst for the improvement of teaching and learning in the arts and sciences while addressing issues of financial sustainability and accountability in higher education. 

About the T.L.L. Temple Foundation

Since its founding in 1962, the T.L.L. Temple Foundation has invested more than $440 million, primarily to strengthen communities in Deep East Texas. The T.L.L. Temple Foundation works alongside families and communities to build a thriving Deep East Texas and to alleviate poverty, creating access and opportunities for all.

About the Texas Success Center

The Center was established at the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) in 2013 to tighten the linkage between practice, research, and policy enabling Texas community colleges to benefit from national research and promising practices on how to accelerate degree completion.

About the Texas Association of Community Colleges

The Texas Association of Community Colleges is a non-profit association that includes all 50 public community college districts in the state. TACC was formally created in 1947 to serve as a voice for all member colleges.

 

 

 

As industries grow, Texas community colleges step up to the plate

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Submitted by San Jacinto College

Industries in Texas show no signs of slowing down as growth continues with an increased need for skilled workers. Community colleges in the state stand ready to train and deliver the right candidates for the jobs.

With more than 210,000 jobs added to Texas in 2016, there’s been a spike in growth specifically within the education, health services, hospitality and manufacturing sectors, according to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). Within the next seven years, Texas is projected to add more than 1.8 million jobs in health care, increase teaching and administrator jobs in both private and public education schools by 25 percent, and increase manufacturing jobs by 7 percent.

Other industries like petrochemical are continuing to expand with new projects, creating a ripple effect of need for workers in an array of industrial technology jobs. Approximately 11,430 direct employees and resident contractors in the combined operations, maintenance and engineering occupations will be needed to replace attrition and fill newly-created positions in the petrochemical industry by the close of 2019, according to the Economic Alliance Houston Port Region. With $40 billion in capital investment, it is estimated that plant expansions along the Texas Gulf Coast region will result in 1,000 permanent jobs and approximately 30,000 construction jobs.

While industries look for new hires, what they really look for are skilled workers – those who are trained and ready for the job, and even better, with an associate degree. Jobs in areas like process technology and maritime, that were once held by employees with high school diplomas, now require more regulated training for skill sets that can include math, computer skills and soft skills.

This is where Texas community colleges come into play.

Community colleges are best positioned to provide customized training in their local community because of their familiarity with specific workforce needs, according to the TWC 2016 Skills Development Fund Annual Report.

Training efforts at community colleges include building new facilities with equipment and environments that closely replicates that of where graduates will one day work, like a sim lab for nursing students, a plant lab for process technology or bridge simulators for maritime students.

Many Texas colleges have received state and federal grants to assist industry in the training of current or incoming employees and make training more available to colleges’ service areas. For example, TWC awarded Laredo Community College a $332,500 Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) grant to install equipment to provide 158 students in the medical profession with training for advanced nursing skills. North Lake College was granted a $407, 230 TWC Skills Development Fund grant to partner with a manufacturing and distribution consortium for job training. San Jacinto College received an $8.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to provide tuition-free training to low-income individuals for select health occupation courses and program.

For many employers, their nearby community college serves a training hub where they’re a partner in ensuring graduates are prepared to land jobs and “hit the ground running” on Day 1.

Download a customizable media release

View the TWC Skills Development Fund Annual Report

Community Colleges Embark on Texas Pathways

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Eleven community colleges from across the state have been chosen to participate in the Texas Pathways Project sponsored by the Texas Success Center and funded by the Greater Texas Foundation. The project is geared toward transforming the way students transition from public education into community colleges on their way to certification or transferring to 4-year institutions leading to meaningful careers.

Research conducted by the Community College Research Center and various innovators from community colleges across the United States recognized low graduation rates among community college students, the high cost of education, and the high number of courses students completed that did not transfer to four-year institutions. Often, students were taking 4-6 years to complete a two-year degree or were dropping out of college. The Pathways serve as a way to provide clear and structured direction at the start of their academic journey at college as they learn about different disciplines and career options, then broaden opportunities as students become better informed.

Academic pathways will provide students a guided path of coursework and contextualized support structures for students within six major career/professional concentrations: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM); Business; Creative Arts; Liberal Arts; Public Service; and Health Professions. The process allows students to explore career options while staying on pace to graduate. For instance, students interested in a STEM-related career but without a specific degree in mind would progress on a multidisciplinary path to an Associate’s Degree in Science. The first two semesters are set for the student to learn about careers and professions available through the pathway, providing opportunities to try different areas while undergoing intrusive advising by academic advisors and mentoring faculty. At the same time, the student would be required to work toward completing all required mathematics classes and be enrolled in STEM-major coursework. Once the student better focuses their interest, they will be advised into STEM metamajors with specific selection and sequencing of courses leading to their preparation in a specific discipline or area of study. All pathway curricula is also aligned with transfer degree options with partner four-year institutions and/or the local industry.

Another goal of Pathways is to build closer ties among high schools and colleges, which can be beneficial to high school students already working on college-level courses through the Dual Credit program. High school freshmen who meet the admission criteria can now begin taking college courses from a transfer block designed for students planning to attend a community college or transfer to a Texas public college or university. Once the student completes 18 college credit hours, the student is then directed into their chosen pathway. If the student continues down the pathway through their senior year, they can receive their high school diploma and an associate degree in the same year.

The Pathways program will give students the path they need to be successful and help them achieve their goals in a timely manner.

Colleges chosen to participate in the Texas Pathways Project are Amarillo College, Austin Community College, Brazosport College, Dallas County Community College District, Grayson College, Houston Community College System, Lone Star College District, McLennan Community College, Midland College, South Texas College, Southwest Texas Junior College, and Temple College. The colleges will participate in biannual institutes designed to assist participants in implementing the structured student pathways. The colleges will be joined by teams from Alamo Community College, El Paso Community College, Paris Junior College, San Jacinto College that were selected to participate in the American Association of Community Colleges’ Pathways Project, a national project designed to institute pathways at scale.

 

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The #TXsuccess campaign is a collaboration between the Texas Association of Community College Marketers (TACCM) and the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) to showcase the value of Texas community colleges to legislators, policymakers, and communities in Texas.

News Release: Texas students opting for quality, hands-on instruction at community colleges

eastfieldFabiola Chavez and Kingsley Scott wanted to make sure they were more than ready for their university experiences.

Chavez and Scott had every opportunity to attend major four-year institutions straight out of high school. But the two chose to use their local community colleges to provide them high-quality education while preparing them academically and socially for the challenges they would face at the university level.

Chavez, 21, graduated from Eastfield College in May 2015 and is transferring to the University of Dallas this fall to study biology and continue her pre-medicine track that will lead her to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

Scott, 20, is a 2016 graduate of Victoria College and will attend the University of Texas at Austin this fall. She will study political science at UT with plans of entering the law school at the Austin campus.

Both students said familiarity, proximity and affordability played pivotal roles in their decisions to begin their careers in higher education at the community college level.

“I wanted more personal attention from my professors and more one-to-one learning experiences with faculty,” said Chavez, who graduated from W.T. White High School in Dallas. “I wanted to stay close to home. I wanted a realistic option for college, and I wanted a realistic price.”

“I felt when I first got out of high school, I wasn’t prepared to go off on my own,” said Scott, a graduate of rural Calhoun High School in Port Lavaca. “It seemed like community college would better prepare me and help me grow a little.”

Chavez and Scott are part of a continuing trend as community colleges remain the largest sector of Texas higher education. According to a study by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), there were 700,892 students enrolled in community colleges statewide during the fall of 2015. That made up 47.1 percent of all higher education students in Texas. The number of students at public universities totaled 619,284 or 41.6 percent.

The THECB also reported 70 percent of all college freshmen and sophomores statewide were enrolled in community colleges for the Fall 2015 semester.

Eastfield College graduate Fabiola Chavez poses with the President’s Volunteer Service Award she received from President Obama.

“A lot of people just want to leave home when they get out of high school,” Scott said. “Sometimes that just isn’t the smartest move. You’re not ready for that commitment and the time and effort it takes. Community college is a good in-between step to get you ready.”

Another THECB study revealed 74 percent of all bachelor’s degree graduates in 2015 attended community colleges. Of those graduates, 35 percent accumulated more than 30 credit hours at community colleges.

More students are finding that community colleges offer lower teacher-to-student ratios and effective support systems to prepare them for four-year universities and beyond.

“Instead of being bombarded with the university experience, I wanted to get a dose of college reality at Eastfield,” Chavez said.

“When you’re off on your own in a big city at a big university, you don’t know anyone, you have no real help,” Scott said. “The teachers at Victoria College helped me prove to myself that I could make it through college classes even if it meant going to the tutoring center for extra help.”

According to the THECB and Texas Association of Community Colleges Legislative Budget Board, Texas community colleges rank third in the nation in affordability, behind only California and New Mexico. The average tuition and fees for the Fall 2016 semester for Texas full-time students living in a community college taxing district was $987.

“Affordability was definitely a big reason why I chose Victoria College,” said Scott, who said she will spend approximately $14,000 on boarding alone her first year in Austin. “I’m looking at my bills for this coming semester at UT and I’m thinking, ‘Can I just stay at VC?’’’

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The #TXsuccess campaign is a collaboration between the Texas Association of Community College Marketers (TACCM) and the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) to showcase the value of Texas community colleges to legislators, policymakers, and communities in Texas.

Texas community colleges named as eligible for 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence

The Texas Association of Community College Marketers (TACCM) was pleased to learn that 16 Texas colleges were recently named as eligible for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The Aspen Institute chose only 150 colleges nationwide for the honor. Those colleges include on the list were as follows:

  • Brazosport College Lake Jackson, TX
  • Cedar Valley College Lancaster, TX
  • Del Mar College Corpus Christi, TX
  • El Paso Community College El Paso, TX
  • Kilgore College Kilgore, TX
  • Lamar State College-Port Arthur Port Arthur, TX
  • Lee College Baytown, TX
  • North Lake College Irving, TX
  • Odessa College Odessa, TX
  • San Jacinto College Pasadena, TX
  • South Texas College McAllen, TX
  • Trinity Valley Community College Athens, TX
  • Tyler Junior College Tyler, TX
  • Vernon College Vernon, TX
  • Western Texas College Snyder, TX
  • Wharton County Junior College Wharton, TX

The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence honors those institutions that strive for and achieve exceptional levels of success for all students, while they are in college and after they graduate. Ten finalists and, ultimately, one winner will be announced in 2017. 

“We are very pleased to see so many of our Texas community colleges included on the list. Texas colleges do an excellent job of serving our very large and diverse state and it is always nice to see their efforts recognized on a national level,” Darin Kazmir, TACCM President, said. 

The bar for the Aspen Prize is intentionally set high in order to identify those institutions that have demonstrated exceptional levels of student success. In a comprehensive review of the publicly available data, the 150 selected two-year institutions—from 35 states—have demonstrated strong outcomes considering three areas of student success: student success in persistence, completion, and transfer; consistent improvement in outcomes over time; and equity in outcomes for students of all racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues.

TACCM is a statewide consortium of marketing and public relations professionals for public community and technical colleges in Texas. The organization serves as a clearinghouse for information, promotes public community and technical colleges in Texas, and serves in an advisory capacity to other statewide organizations.