BRYAN, TEXAS: Greater Texas Foundation (GTF) announces eight new grants totaling $6,993,322 over eight years to expand its successful GTF Scholars program, a scholarship and retention program for graduates of Texas Early College High Schools (ECHSs). The grants will benefit 1,000 students at eight institutions: Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, University of Houston-Downtown, University of North Texas, The University of Texas at El Paso, The University of Texas of the Permian Basin, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and The University of Texas at Tyler.

“Greater Texas Foundation is proud to expand its signature scholarship program and continue to provide support for graduates of Texas Early College High Schools,” said Ralph Rushing, Board Chair and Interim Chief Executive of GTF. “The first phase of GTF Scholars, which supported five cohorts of students, demonstrated strong success in helping ECHS graduates transition to four-year institutions and complete baccalaureate degrees. We are committed and excited to work with our new partners across the state.”

GTF founded the GTF Scholars program in 2011 in response to data indicating that large numbers of Texas students were beginning, but not completing, postsecondary education. The program was designed to increase the number of Texas ECHS graduates who successfully transition to and complete a baccalaureate degree by providing these students with both scholarships and non-financial support. The program is unique in that GTF works directly with leaders at each participating institution to ensure that scholars receive the advising and support they need to succeed in their course of study. It also was the first scholarship program in the state to dedicate funds specifically to graduates of ECHSs. ECHSs are designed to provide traditionally underserved students the opportunity to earn 60 credit hours toward a postsecondary degree at no cost to the student.

To date, more than 500 students have participated in the program, 70 percent of whom identify as Latino or Hispanic and 67 percent of whom identify as first-generation college students. An independent evaluation of outcomes for the first cohort of students indicates that, compared to similar peers not participating in the program, GTF Scholars are more likely to persist from year to year, graduate on time, and complete their degree program with significantly less loan debt.

Greater Texas Foundation is proud to work with its higher education partners to extend the benefits of this effective program to even more students.