Community Column: Early access helps alleviate education obstacles
February 19, 2019
Access to education has been a fundamental part of Palo Alto College's mission since our founding in the 1980s. We know a person's education can provide foundational skills to a better career, experiences that enrich a person's overall perspective, and opportunities that can change lives. As a pillar of our community, we believe higher education should be something that everyone can achieve, regardless of social or economic status.
With funding from educational grants from the U.S. Department of Education TRIO programs — Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math Science, and Talent Search — Palo Alto College has been able to provide high school students with individually focused, intensive programming geared toward helping them navigate their journey through high school and college, alleviating obstacles many students face as the first in their families to attend college.
Each year, close to 80 students from Lytle, Jourdanton, Poteet, and Pleasanton High Schools participate in Palo Alto College's TRIO Upward Bound project, which is designed to encourage underserved students to pursue a college education immediately after graduating high school. Students in Upward Bound are encouraged through year-round and summer academic support and tutoring in five core areas — reading, writing, math, science, and foreign language. Students also learn through field trips, volunteer opportunities and workshops.
The TRIO Upward Bound Math and Science program (UBMS) provides tutoring, advising and test preparation for students from East Central High School. UBMS students are provided opportunities to explore STEM programs beyond high school, including intensive summer programs in undergraduate scientific research under the guidance of university graduate students and faculty.
In TRIO Talent Search, 500 students from all four high school grade levels at Southwest High School each year receive financial literacy education, information on state and federal financial aid programs, assistance in completing financial aid applications, and college admissions support to ensure students graduate from high school and complete their higher education.
These programs, along with our seven early college high schools and more than 25 dual credit partner schools, help us continue to expand the opportunities for our South Side community.
Palo Alto College has remained dedicated to providing equal opportunities and resources for our community to continue their education and earn a college degree, and we will continue to work together to create more pathways for education.
This column by Dr. Robert Garza, president of Palo Alto College, was originally published in the San Antonio Express-News' Southside Reporter and on mysanantonio.com.