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Promise to Promise Offers Seamless Transfer and Free Tuition for San Antonio Seniors

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'Welcome Jags' sign from Fall 2023 at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. From TAMUSA Photo Archives, 'Jaguar March', Aug 2023."Welcome Jags" sign from Fall 2023 at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. From TAMUSA Photo Archives, "Jaguar March", Aug 2023.This fall, students entering one of Alamo Colleges District's five community colleges in San Antonio, Texas will have the opportunity to have guaranteed transfer to Texas A&M University-San Antonio (TAMUSA) and free tuition at both institutions.

It’s a remarkable extension of both institutions’ Promise Programs, which previously provided free, last-dollar tuition to only a select group of students. The new partnership combines and enhances these programs. Promise to Promise will be available for every graduating senior from Bexar County high schools, whether public, private, or GED earners. That’s over 20,000 potential new students.

“We know that those who needed higher education may not have that opportunity because of financial restraints, and so [Alamo Colleges’] Promise Program has allowed them to come through and make generational change,” said Clint Kingsbery, chair of Alamo College’s Board of Trustees, assistant director of testing and the Texas Success Initiative at TAMUSA, and a former math teacher in a San Antonio public school district. He spoke at a press conference in mid-June announcing the new plan.

“TAMUSA’s Promise Program underscores the importance of higher education in our community and has basically eliminated financial barriers for the students at TAMUSA,” said Kingsbery. “So, through Promise to Promise, we’re continuing our shared goal to help thousands of students save money.”

Students apply online, where acceptance to the program will cover up to three years of learning at an Alamo College (or until an associate’s degree is earned), and will then guarantee a transfer to neighboring four-year institution TAMUSA, where they will continue to study tuition-free as they earn their bachelor’s degree.

Dr. Mike Flores, chancellor of Alamo Colleges, called this transfer and tuition partnership “a spectacular strategic initiative focused on economic and social mobility.” He called the push to address intergenerational poverty “the Moonshot.”

“Promise to Promise is focused on how we can do right by our students, how we can do better in providing economic and social mobility to each and every one of our 70,000 plus students currently. How we can ensure that we engage more prospective students or learners and provide them with the credential that they need to either affirm or provide a pathway to the middle class,” said Flores.

Nearly half of Alamo College’s Promise Scholars are studying science, education, technology, and mathematics (STEM) related fields, and 88% of Promise Scholars moving on to four-year degrees are students of color.

Dr. Salvador Hector Ochoa, president of TAMUSA, grew up in the Rio Grande Valley in Southern Texas. In that time, he said he knew many classmates “with so much potential” who “never had access to go to school.”

“It leaves a very important mark on you,” said Ochoa. “That’s why opening pathways and building bridges is very, very important.”

Ochoa said that 80% of TAMUSA’s transfer students come to them from Alamo Colleges, and 70% of TAMUSA students are first-generation. Ninety-eight percent of his students receive some form of financial aid.

“The need is real, and it prevents many of our students from completing their degrees,” said Ochoa. “It’s very important that we celebrate the multiple pathways our students choose to go [to college], whether that’s a four-year institution first or community college.”

 

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