Tyler Junior College President Dr. L. Michael Metke and University of Texas at Tyler President Rodney Mabry have signed transfer agreements that give students a more seamless transition from TJC to UT-Tyler.
Executive Director of Enrollment Management Services Janna Chancey said TJC applied for a college connection grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The grant is worth $84,000 and was approved in February.
“That next month, we were buying materials and testing supplies,” Chancey said. “This is a special effort to get a large number of high school graduates to start college.”
Chancey said the program consists of a “2+2+2” process.
“The first ‘2’ is that we partnered with eight high schools of our area,” Chancey said. “Those are Lee and John Tyler, Chapel Hill, Jacksonville, Lindale, Arp, Troup and New Summerfield. We purchased the Accuplacer and THEA for students who could not afford it. Now, they can go to college and not be charged.”
Chancey said the second ‘2’ is TJC and the last ‘2’ is UT-Tyler. The colleges have been given a list of required courses that can be taken at either UT-Tyler or TJC.
“We took the most common transfer majors and worked on those first,” Chancey said. “We also have a computer system that allows students to look up their transcripts from other schools if they don’t have them. It would still be unofficial, but it will be enough for them and their advisor to look at.”
Chancey said the school has also partnered with Financial Aid and Advising.
“We want to show students the steps to get from high school to college,” Chancey said. “Although we would like for students to go to TJC, we want them to get into a school somewhere, that way they can enter into a higher workforce.”
Transfer Specialist Kaye Morriss said students are an “at-risk” population.
“We help first generation students, students with special needs who still have potential to do something and students who I like to call ‘sleepers,’ meaning they are smart but do absolutely nothing,” she said.
Morriss said the goal of the grant is to enroll 900 students from the eight high schools.
“Anyone can get into TJC, there just needs to be a support system,” Morriss said. “In high school, if a student was not doing well, their counselor would pull them and talk to them. We also have to monitor our students.”
Chancey said there is an increase in the enrollment at TJC, and UT-Tyler wants those transfer students.
“It is shown that transfer students do better at major universities,” she said. “We need more educated people in the work force. That would be good for all of us.”
According to a TJC press release by Fred Peters and UT-Tyler Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Peter Fos, “Together we can help students complete their bachelor’s degrees by starting at TJC and later transferring to UT-Tyler.”
“This is just the beginning as we plan to include as many academic programs in the agreement as possible, and we will continue to expand our degree offerings in the future,” Peters said. “Student success is the top priority for both institutions. There’s no need for any student to have to leave the area to earn that four-year degree.”