State Initiative To Expand College Adviser Reach Into Texas High Schools

SAN ANTONIO – Some high school students needing help in learning the ropes to reach college can get higher-education advice as part of a nationwide public service project.

More than a dozen Texas members of the National College Advising Corps will be available, beginning this fall, to advise students in schools in Houston, San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley.

Details of the initiative, affiliated with the University of Texas at Austin and funded by public and private sources, were announced Wednesday.

Elaine Mendoza, a member of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, says the state aims to expand to 120 advisers, who can double as ambassadors for Generation TX, the state’s marketing campaign to create a college-going culture.

These young advisers “lived it. They know it. They can relate to it. They are going to make all the difference in the world,” according to Mendoza.

Nicole Hurd, corps executive director, founded the program in 2007. Currently about 200 advisers are in 15 states, serving 65,000 students.

“I think we can move the needle fairly quickly,” Hurd said. “There are too many students not attaining an education because of really simple barriers,” said Hurd.

Gorge Martinez, 23, a UT-Austin graduate from Ferris, struggled to complete his college applications. He paid to take the SAT twice before finding out he could have applied for a low-income fee waiver.

Once he made it to UT, Martinez returned home frequently to help peers follow in his footsteps.

Martinez is hoping to replicate that success in his new assignment at Harlandale High School. Four other corps members will work in Memorial and Kennedy high schools in the Edgewood district, South San High in the South San Antonio district, and Jefferson High in the San Antonio ISD.