Free Tuition Near A Reality
In the event you missed the news back in the spring, free tuition is becoming closer to a reality in the Alamo City.
A blue ribbon roster of local business, education, and non-profit leaders gathered in April for their first meeting as the steering committee for the Alamo Colleges District’s AlamoPROMISE initiative.
The district is working collaboratively with the city and county to make the concept of AlamoPROMISE a reality. AlamoPROMISE will provide the first two years of college at one of the Alamo Colleges District’s five colleges to eligible students who plan to earn an associate degree or certifications, take courses for transfer or complete workforce training.
AlamoPROMISE will provide a last-dollar scholarship, funded with support from public and private sector partners and foundations, to fill the gap between a student’s financial aid award and the cost of tuition and fees for the first two years of college at one of the district’s five colleges. AlamoPROMISE also incorporates comprehensive student support services, from career exploration and advising to connections to social services and student advocacy centers. This support, which is provided to all Alamo Colleges District students, will address transportation and childcare costs, food insufficiency and other barriers students face in completing college.
Chairing the committee are Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Alamo Colleges District Chancellor Dr. Mike Flores. They are joined on the committee by:
- Kevin Voelkel, President, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas
- Peter John Holt, CEO, Holt Cat
- Jeff Goldhorn, Executive Director, Education Service Center Region 20
- Richard Perez, President/CEO, San Antonio Chamber of Commerce
- Diane Sanchez, President/CEO, San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- Cynthia Matson, President, Texas A&M University – San Antonio
- Taylor Eighmy, President, The University of Texas at San Antonio
- Ryan Ludgalia-Hollon, Executive Director, Up Partnership
- Lloyd Verstuyft, Superintendent, Southwest ISD
- Pedro Martinez, Superintendent, San Antonio ISD
- Brian Woods, Superintendent, Northside ISD
- Jeanette Ball, Superintendent, Judson ISD
- Kate Rogers, Outreach and Civic Engagement, Charles Butt Foundation
- Rebecca Brune, President, San Antonio Area Foundation
- Romanita Matta-Barrera, Executive Director, SA Works
All of the chairs were encouraged and enthused about the program and the partnerships.
“With AlamoPROMISE, we will impact not only our students and their families, but the larger community as well,” said Flores. “We will make a college education possible for a larger percentage of high school graduates and address regional workforce needs by providing more graduates who have the skills to qualify for the high-demand, high-wage jobs that often go unfilled in one of the fastest growing regions in the country.”
“AlamoPROMISE is a transforming initiative for San Antonio students, said Wolff. “It will lift the barriers allowing Bexar County students an opportunity to obtain the best in skill training and education,” he added.
“The AlamoPROMISE will be truly transformative for our city,” said Nirenberg. “Tuition-free community college through a last-dollar scholarship is a game-changer for workforce and economic development. Today’s steering committee meeting was productive and TeamSA is all working together to make this promise a reality,” he added.
Steering Committee members were invited to learn first-hand about the Tennessee Promise program and how its success can be replicated for AlamoPROMISE.
At the Alamo Colleges District, high quality education and affordable costs provide exceptional value to students and alumni who are major contributors to the economy and culture of our community. For more information, go to www.alamo.edu/promise.
Black Life Texas
Visit with Authors at the San Antonio African American Book Festival
The fourth annual San Antonio African American Book Festival (SAAABF) will be held on Feb. 25 at the Carver Library and Second Baptist Community Center from 12 pm to 5 pm. The event is free for the public.
Last year’s event attracted 40 African American authors. The annual event was created to highlight the power of Black literature, reinforce the fact that representation matters, and to encourage Black economics.
The Friends of the Carver Library annually seeks sponsorships to fund the free event. The organization said the goal is to promote literacy in a way that positively reflects the importance of “controlling and sharing our narrative.”
10:30 am – 8th Annual Black History for Children Book Exhibit hosted by Baba Aundar (Carver Library Meeting Room)
12- 5 pm – Browse & Buy from Participating Authors (2nd Baptist Community Center, next door to Carver Library)
1 pm – Young People’s Writing Session hosted by The San Antonio Chapter of The Links, Inc. (Carver Library Meeting Room)
2 pm – Keynote Author: Dr. Mateen Diop (Carver Library Meeting Room)
History of the Carver Library
G.W. Carver Library opened in 1930 at the Carver Community Center as a Reading Room in the Carver Community Auditorium & Library. The Carver Community Auditorium & Library was built with funds raised from San Antonio’s Black Community. It later became the Colored Branch of the San Antonio Public Library system, and the only place in San Antonio Black people were allowed to access books. Carver Library moved to its current location at 3350 E. Commerce Street in 1972 and has been a long-standing pillar in San Antonio’s Black Community.
Carver Library is the official home of The San Antonio African American Book Festival. This annual event is held on the last Saturday of Black History Month. Carver Library is currently home to the city’s largest African American book collection, The Pan-African Festival, and many other events. There is a Children’s Library, Teen Center, LEARN Resource Center, Computer Lab, meeting room, and a Black History Photograph Exhibit.
South Texas HBCU College Fair Back Again
By Ebony Huerta Wells
St. Philip’s College, Prairie View A&M University, and Texas Southern University are just three of the nine HBCUs or Historically Black Colleges & Universities in Texas.
Many of these HBCUs will be at the Annual South Texas HBCU College Fair at Northeast Lakeview College on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 9 am to noon. The event is made possible by IMBRACE Education, which is partnering with NAACP’s San Antonio Branch Youth Council and Northeast Lakeview College.
Last year, more than 600 families attended, and more than 40 HBCUs participated in the event.
This event will allow college-bound middle school/high school students and their parents to speak to several HBCU admissions representatives/alumni and ROTC scholarship program managers regarding the educational opportunities at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
There will be special performances by Sam Houston High School’s Marching Storm and Judson Early College Academy’s Step Team, including interactive college readiness workshops.
Monique A. Cannon Broadnax, founder and executive director of IMBRACE, said the focus is on HBCUs because of their significant role in advancing the value and importance of a post-secondary education that holistically engages Black students. These institutions of higher learning are dedicated to and single-handedly responsible for ensuring that underrepresented students, low socioeconomic students, disenfranchised students, first-generation college students, and students from all backgrounds who traditionally excel academically and socially in nurturing environments attain bachelor’s, master’s, professional and doctoral degrees.
IMBRACE Education, a nonprofit organization, provides students and parents with information regarding the college application process and scholarships and conducts tours of college and university campuses with a focus on increasing enrollment at HBCUs. For 10 years, it has been devoted to preparing students for life after high school by creating experiences to expose students to post-secondary options at all HBCUs.
All attendees (students, parents, sponsors, and community members) must pre-register, print and present or display their registration ticket at the door upon entry. The event will occur at Northeast Lakeview College’s Llano Wellness Center Building near Parking Lot 3 at 1201 Kitty Hawk Road in Universal City. Visit (ImbraceEducation.org) for more information.
Turning HBCU Students into Medical Doctors
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, only 8% of medical students and 5% of physicians are Black and African American. In an effort to address this disparity, the American Heart Association, the leading public health nonprofit organization dedicated to building a world of longer, healthier lives for all, has announced that 52 students from 23 academic institutions have been selected to participate in its Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Scholars program.
The Association’s HBCU Scholars are enrolled in biomedical or other health sciences programs at their respective institutions. Through their participation in the Scholars program, they will study how the social determinants of health and other health disparities impact underserved communities. They will also participate in scientific research projects and present their findings at the end of the program.
“Since 2015, the American Heart Association HBCU Scholars program has helped change the trajectory of dozens of under-represented students in science and medicine by fostering their talent, preparedness and growth to pursue careers in biomedical science” said American Heart Association volunteer president Michelle A. Albert, M.D., M.P.H., FAHA, who is the Walter A. Haas-Lucie Stern endowed chair in Cardiology, professor of medicine and admissions dean at University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine. “As champions for health care quality and access for all, the American Heart Association is committed to building the pipeline of diverse persons in medicine and empowering the next generation of research and health care professionals.”
The program is funded by a grant provided by the Quest Diagnostics Foundation, which also supports the American Heart Association’s Hispanic Serving Institutes (HSI) Scholars Program.
“This program plays an essential role in supporting the pipeline of Black students who will increase representation and equity in the health care field,” said Mandell Jackson, vice president and general manager, Quest for Health Equity, Quest Diagnostics. “We are proud to support this next cohort of HBCU Scholars with the American Heart Association as it provides them with enriching academic and networking experiences to help them excel in their career paths.”
Accepted students are selected based on their GPA, completion of a formal application, which includes a nursing essay, and an official recommendation from their school. During the program, scholars are paired with a mentor who works in health care or is currently performing their own relevant scientific research. They will also participate in a leadership development program and are awarded a financial stipend to help cover education-related expenses. More about the American Heart Association’s HBCU Scholars initiative can be found here.
Clinical research studies published in the American Journal of Public Health suggest that patients of color may experience uncomfortable interactions and communication barriers with their health care providers due to lack of diversity and face implicit and unconscious bias from physicians and other health care professionals. These barriers, in turn, can lower patients’ trust in the overall health care system and as a result, these patients may not complete prescribed treatments or follow-up on recommended care. Addressing this issue is a vital component of the HBCU Scholars program.
Each year, the Association seeks applications from sophomores, juniors and seniors from historically underrepresented communities who are currently enrolled in an HBCU and are interested in pursuing a professional degree in biomedical and health sciences.
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