Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek was invited to visit the White House in January 2014 for a summit about increasing college access for low-income students.
In preparation for the summit, participating universities were asked to commit to plans for expanding college opportunity. UT plans to implement three programs aimed at recruiting academically qualified low-income students and helping ensure their success once they arrive:
- A coaching program for students who face barriers to their success at the university. A retention index will be used to understand potential risk factors that can prevent students from successfully completing their degree. The university will hire professional coaches to help students transition to university life and develop academic and nonacademic success strategies. A pilot program is already under way.
- A summer math camp for incoming freshmen. The camp will target students who are interested in math-intensive majors but do not have strong ACT math scores. The camp will help students develop the needed math skills or identify majors that interest them but have less focus on math. The camp will launch this summer.
- Expansion of transfer programs with community colleges. Offering support from both UT and the community colleges, these programs set clear benchmarks for successful transfer to UT. The university will invest in professional staff, including an admissions counselor who already has been hired to work with community colleges, and will develop support materials to enhance recruitment, transition, and retention.