Community Engagement and College Accessibility:  TWU’s Go Program.


Author
Stephanie Krauth and Becky Rodriguez of Texas Women's University

Published
October 24, 2017


In 2001, the 77th Texas Legislature adopted “Closing the Gaps”, a proactive plan designed in part to increase Texans’ participation and success in higher education. As a result, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board launched “College for all Texans”, a marketing and outreach initiative in 2002 with the slogan “Education. GO Get It.” The goal of the campaign was to enroll 630,000 academically prepared students by 2015.

Since 2002, the Texas Woman’s University Go Program has worked in coordination with the initiatives of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to build partnerships across the North Texas region promoting higher education awareness and accessibility. 

The mission of the TWU Go Program is to provide and promote resources to high school individuals and their families with the goal to increase the number of students enrolled in the higher education programs in Texas. From 2007 to present, services have been provided to over 44,500 students and parents. It is anticipated that the number of students and parents served will increase an additional 5% each year from 2017-2020.  Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board ranks Texas Woman’s University’s Hispanic enrollment increase (244% from 2000-2013) the eigth-highest enrollment growth among Universities in Texas and more than double the statewide average.  U.S. News and World Report Magazine ranks TWU in the top 3 in the state, and top 10 nationally, among Universities with the most diverse student populations.

The program goals are: (1) to provide outreach services to high school students through G-Force peer-to-peer mentoring;  (2) provide leadership and professional development to collegiate G-Force mentors and;  (3) impact the success and retention of economically disadvantage and primarily first-generation minority students at Texas Woman’s University through mentoring.

The TWU Go Program is comprised of three portions:  High School GO Centers, The Mobile Go Center and College Readiness Workshops. The intent of these resources is to provide individuals and their families in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex with information pertaining to college access and success by bringing the information to their community.

Initially beginning with 5 Go Centers serving 5 high schools, the TWU Go Program has grown over the past 15 years to include Go Centers located in 17 high schools spanning over 11 school districts, and a Mobile Go Center utilized for outreach events within a 100 mile radius.  Additionally, the TWU GO Program coordinates over 40 College Readiness Workshops and events serving an average of 2,500 high school students and parents annually. 

Current Texas Woman’s University students volunteer to be part of a peer mentor group that implements for all three phases of the TWU Go Program to help ensure the success and sustainability of all phases.  TWU currently has 59 G-Force peer mentors, over 73% are first-generation college students and boast a cumulative 3.37 GPA average.  66% of current G-Force members are Latinos, 17% Black, 7% White and 10% other. Persistance to graduation is high among G-Force members (over 80%), a reflection of the services and practices of the program.  89% of G-Force mentors who participated in the G-Force Mentor Program stated that the program expanded their educational and career goals while 94% said their experience in the program helped increase their leadership knowledge and skills.

The community partnerships created through the “Closing the Gaps” plan has allowed the Go Program to continue Texas Woman’s University's commitment of supporting postsecondary educational opportunities for groups that have been traditionally under-represented in higher education including the economically disadvantaged, first-generation college students, Hispanic and/or African-American students. This commitment is evidenced by Texas Woman’s University's ranking as the highest among Texas public institutions in the graduation of first generation-college students (approximately 59%) and by the highly diverse enrollment (almost 40% minority).


Authors:

  • Stephanie Krauth, Associate Vice President for Student Engagement, Texas Woman's College

  • Becky Rodriguez, Executive Director of Diversity, Inclusion, & Outreach, Texas Woman’s University


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