Project GRAD Houston Scholars Visit Campus
By: Claire Caton
Seven students from Jeff Davis, Jack Yates, John Reagan, Phillis Wheatley and Sam Houston Math, Science and Technology Center High Schools visited UHD recently to take a group photograph prior to their graduation in May. One of these students - Ardelia Garza - is a senior at Reagan High School and will attend UHD in the fall.
Each new freshman student at the partnering Project GRAD schools is offered a $4,000 scholarship to college upon their graduation from high school. UHD is one of only two Houston-area universities that double this scholarship amount for students who enroll at the University following graduation. Approximately 250 Project GRAD Scholars are enrolled at UHD this semester.
Each student in the program must graduate from high school in four years or less with a minimum 2.5 GPA.
"Project GRAD Houston gave me a great incentive to make excellent grades, graduate from high school and pursue higher education," said Garza. "I am very excited about entering UHD as a freshman this fall and will use many of the skills I gained through the program as a college student and future professional."
Project GRAD students are required to attend two of the program's College Institutes en route to receiving their scholarships. These College Institutes provide representative college experiences for students and have proven effective in incentivizing and motivating students to graduate from high school and enroll in college.
"UHD fully supports Project GRAD Houston and is proud to collaborate with the nonprofit in providing higher education opportunities for hard-working students," said Johanna Wolfe, vice president for Advancement and External Relations. "Since UHD first partnered with Project GRAD Houston in 1992, more than 850 participating students have enrolled in our University as a next step in achieving their educational and career aspirations."
A 2011 Project GRAD study demonstrated that attending two College Institutes quadrupled the likelihood of college enrollment for students with a 2.0 GPA and placed those students on the same enrollment trajectory as a student with a 4.0 GPA.
Of the five participating high schools, 90 percent of students are low-income and 97 percent of students are Hispanic or African-American. Project GRAD notes that, in Texas, only 24 to 28 percent of African-American and Hispanic children who enroll in higher education graduate. Additionally, only 20 percent of children from economically disadvantaged households who enroll in higher education earn a degree.
"UHD plays such an important role in this city and ensuring that our young people are ready to meet the demands of the workforce today and in the future," says Ann B. Stiles, Project GRAD Executive Director.
UHD hosted Project GRAD's first College Institutes in the early 1990s and will host three this summer.