This fall, students who apply to the University of Texas at San Antonio, but don’t quite qualify for direct admission, will have a new pathway to start at UTSA as sophomores.
Through a program called Transitioning Roadrunners at Alamo Colleges, or On-TRAC, the students will be co-enrolled at the university and one of the community colleges.
If the students earn 24 credit hours at one of the Alamo Colleges while maintaining at least a 2.25 GPA, they’ll be automatically transferred to UTSA the following fall without having to reapply. Students will also be required to take six credit hours at UTSA in the spring semester.
“It’s that population of students that is almost college ready who we are trying to attract,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy, adding that being enrolled in both schools from the beginning will make the transition smoother.
“That stepping stone is sometimes a challenge. This process removes that stepping stone completely and it makes it a much more seamless and easier process for the student,” Eighmy said.
At a news conference announcing On-TRAC Tuesday, school officials at both institutions said the program will help more students complete their degrees.
“We no longer measure just the extent to which students transfer and then we say, ‘OK, they’re gone; not our problem anymore. It’s their problem,’ ” Alamo Colleges Chancellor Bruce Leslie said. “Just as we expect high schools to prepare students for college readiness, we’re now saying we need to prepare students for university readiness.”
According to the Alamo Colleges District, about 75 percent of its students transfer to four-year universities.
About 1,500 of those students transferred to UTSA in the fall of 2017, including junior Karen Elliot, who earned her associate’s degree from San Antonio College.
Elliot was homeschooled and had some holes in her knowledge base prior to going to college.
“My weakness was math. I never much enjoyed math, but I wouldn’t say I was bad at it. I just knew I wasn’t college ready, and I thought that would prevent me from ever going to college,” Elliot said. “I’m very grateful to Alamo Colleges for giving me the preparation to make it (to UTSA).”
Being able to enroll students from college freshmen through degree completion will help UTSA and the Alamo Colleges boost their graduation rates because the U.S. Department of Education tracks graduation rates based on freshmen cohorts.