$600,000+ in Funding Provided for A&M International's 'Bridge to Success' and TexPrep Programs

Two Texas A&M International University summer programs that provide talented local and regional high school students with University level educational experiences have received new funding totalling $605,790.

The funding includes $250,000 from the South Texas Workforce Development Board (STWDB) to support the South Texas "Bridge to Success" program; $312,790 from the Middle Rio Grande Workforce Board in support of the Middle Rio Grande "Bridge to Success" program and $43,000 for the Texas Prefreshman Engineering Program (TexPREP) from the South Texas Workforce Board.

A&M International College of Education's Dr. Julio F. Madrigal, professor of psychology and coordinator for the programs, said the funding will provide access for additional students to participate in the programs, summer housing and, in some instances, an academic enrichment salary for selected students.

"We're delighted with the response from these funding sources because it signals new opportunities for students to expand their educational horizons, enriching their minds and lives. These programs have the potential to enable students to better their lives and those of their families through higher education. They are provided at no cost to the students and are part of the University's outreach commitment to its service communities," Dr. Madrigal explained.

The South Texas "Bridge to Success" program, launched last year, is a 10-week residential program for 60 selected participants from Jim Hogg, Starr, Webb and Zapata counties. Participants enroll in courses to earn 12 semester credit hours over two summer sessions while living on campus at University Village.

The Middle Rio Grande version of the program targets 50 students from Dimmit, La Salle, Zavala, Valverde, Real, Kinney, Uvalde, Maverick and Edwards counties who enjoy the same on-campus privileges as their South Texas program counterparts.

TexPREP is now in its 14th year of operation at A&M International and has served over 750 students. It targets high-ability middle and high school students interested in science, math, engineering and technology careers for a summer program that offers special classes, field trips and lectures for over 160 students.

The STWDB funding focuses on assistance to 40 students selected as part of a first time special University Village residential program that will provide eight Starr County students with a rare summer learning opportunity.

Madrigal said both programs provide an outreach service to the University's growing service area that has long-term ramifications.

"While the Bridge program is quite young, we're already tracking last summer's participants and over 95% are continuing to pursue higher education. Over the years our TexPREP program has seen 67% of college eligible TexPREP participants pursue math, science, engineering or technology degrees. Of those college eligible respondents, 97% have completed undergraduate degrees. Some have even returned to the program to be guest instructors for the summer," he explained.

TexPrep Program participants must meet the Jobs Training Partnership Act (JTPA) guide lines, be in-school, and be at least 15 years of-age on or before May 31, 1999. These 40 participants can fill out one of the specially marked TexPREP applications at the SER-Jobs for Progress Workforce Centers.

In order to eligible for the Bridge to Success program, the students must be May 1999 high school graduates from the above counties, meet JTPA guidelines, completed the TAAS requirements for graduation, have taken or be eligible for the TASP and meet A&M International entrance requirements.

For additional information on application procedures to either the "Bridge to Success" or TexPrep summer programs, please contact Dr. Madrigal at the University's College of Education at 326-2430 or SER-Jobs for Progress at 729-0990.

University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu