University’s Growth Tapping
Out Its Scholarship Pool
Texas A&M International University officials can proudly boast one of the highest retention rates in the State – 70% of students continue on to complete their undergraduate studies at TAMIU.
But that impressive retention rate, coupled with the University’s 39% enrollment growth over the past five years, now drains the University’s scholarship pool. There is a very real threat of having to turn away some 650 students in 2008, starting with the current Spring semester, officials said.
“It’s an unexpected consequence that has dire implications for our students, “ said Dr. Ray Keck, TAMIU president.
Dr. Keck said that while the University has been the fortunate beneficiary of both federal funds and private philanthropy, increases in tuition, fees and book expenses, combined with the University’s enviable retention rate and enrollment growth have created a dire situation.
“We will award about $10.9 million combined in scholarships, grants and loans this spring. With expenses for a 15-hour course load, complete with tuition and fees nearing $3,300 a semester, 2,644 students annually need some assistance towards unmet needs,” he explained.
Keck quickly noted that most of the students affected also work, have families and are coming to the University to better their lives and their families.
“They realize the benefit of higher education and are expending their resources and energies to better themselves. The investment they make, the investment others can make, is an investment in Laredo and our region. No one gets a free ride, but everyone can appreciate some help,” he affirmed.
He said the University would turn to its greatest supporter, the community, in an effort to raise scholarship monies.
“We will begin approaching local businesses and corporations, especially those that have benefited from hiring TAMIU graduates, and ask their partnership in providing a $1000 scholarship for a TAMIU student. Our goal for this initiative is $250,000, which will assist us greatly in addressing the unmet needs,” he explained.
The University will be hosting a phone-a-thon soon, he said.
Keck said he is confident that the community will respond to the University’s call for partnership.
“We are a catalyst for economic impact. We provide annual direct and indirect economic impacts in excess of $173 million. Our Laredo operations support more than 1000 full-time jobs distributed throughout Laredo. And, of course, for each 1000 students who graduate annually, some $36.3 million in new income is generated here. Investing in students and future graduates is simply good business," he said.
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