University of Texas at Austin to Help "Underserved" DISD High School Students

The University of Texas at Austin sends word today that it's partnering with Dallas-based Education is Freedom -- the beneficiary of Mayor Tom's fund-raiser at the Dallas Zoo on June 26 -- on a pilot program intended to "support students who might not otherwise consider the university as an option."

At the moment at least, the program -- called Longhorn Pre-College Academy -- will be aimed at a few hundred kids at seven Dallas Independent School District high schools: Carter, Lincoln, North Dallas, Roosevelt, A. Maceo Smith, Skyline and Sunset. Those who participate -- either by being recruited or by signing up through the Education is Freedom offices on their respective campuses -- will ultimately be eligible for scholarships to UT should they complete the program, which, says the release, will "provide a pathway to the university for high school students who have been historically underserved but are high achievers."

Leslie Blair, in the university's Division of Diversity & Community Engagement, tells Unfair Park the pilot program will begin this fall. UT and EiF have already begun recruiting high-school students, says Angel Royal, program director at UT Outreach-Dallas, by ID'ing kids who've expressed interested in UT. But, she tells Unfair Park, there are still incoming freshman who will be recruited on their respective campuses beginning in August. She says UT and EiF expect to have 290 to 300 students enrolled in the program when it kicks off.

 And this, more or less, is how it'll work:

LPCA will offer students access to academic enrichment programs and services and college awareness workshops. At the conclusion of their junior year, students eligible for admission to The University of Texas at Austin will have the opportunity to compete for about 46 scholarships to the university. University President William Powers Jr. has earmarked $3 million for the scholarships over a three-year period.

To be eligible for participation in LPCA, students must be first-generation college students and have obtained honor roll status. They must remain on the honor roll every semester throughout their participation in the program. During the first year of the pilot program, students at every high school grade level will be recruited. After the initial year, only ninth grade students will be eligible for participation.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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