1. What is the Julieta & Frank Staggs Academy of International and STEM Studies?
Located on the Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) campus, the Julieta & Frank Staggs Academy of International and STEM Studies (formally Texas Academy) is an additional option for high school students in this region. High school juniors and seniors will be able to complete their last two years of high school while earning college credit.
2. How was the Academy formed?
The Academy was created by State Senator Judith Zaffirini and authorized by the 79th Texas Legislature in 2005. The Academy is accredited by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. (THECB)
3. How many students will be selected?
A cohort of 50 “rising juniors” will be selected each year. Selected students will receive free tuition, fees and books and will be able to make substantial progress towards a University degree in any area while exploring research and collaborative educational opportunities with project partners including the University of Texas Health Science Center of San Antonio’s (UTHSCSA) Laredo campus.
4. Will I earn a high school diploma? Are my credits transferrable?
Upon completion of their two years in the Academy, students will have earned their high school diploma (DAP) concurrently with college credits toward a bachelor’s degree. Texas A&M International University credits are transferable to any public university/college in the state of Texas.
5. How much does it cost to attend the Academy?
After meeting all the requirements of the Academy and admitted to the program, students are responsible for a non-refundable program charge of $750/semester. However, this charge may be waived after a complete Financial Aid application is approved.
6. How do I apply?
You can access our application online HERE.
7. Can I attend classes during summer?
The Academy only offers courses during the fall and spring semesters. Student will be responsible for paying their own tuition if they attend summer school.
8. How will I know when you receive all my application documents?
The Academy Selection Committee will review all applications and give you a call if you are missing any documents.
9. How much do PSAT scores count? What about teacher and counselor references, transcripts, essay and interviews?
No pre-determined weights are assigned to any file elements, and no formulas or computer programs are used to select students. Candidates are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but must have competitive scores and transcripts, and no specific GPA or PSAT score guarantees entry. Admission is based not only on scores and transcripts, but also on motivation, maturity, career interest, interviews, teacher and counselor evaluations, and behavioral record.
10. If I cannot attend Interview Day, could I be interviewed by phone or by other special arrangement?
Unfortunately, due to extensive time invested in the application process, special arrangements will not be considered to accommodate student schedule conflicts. Academy personnel will, however, be as flexible as possible as to which interview day may be assigned or time, if possible.
11. What are graduation requirements?
Students must meet graduation degree requirements according to the Distinguished Achievement Plan (DAP) set by the Texas Education Agency. Courses from the previous high school and university will count toward the high school diploma. Academy graduates can earn between 60 - 68 semester credit hours and must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0. Graduates receive an advanced high school diploma from Texas A&M International ISD as well as college credits.
12. What curriculum does the Academy offer?
All courses offered at the Academy are University courses taught by University faculty. The mission of the Julieta & Frank Staggs Academy of International and STEM Studies is to offer an innovative and accelerated curriculum for motivated Texas high school students. These students will be able to excel in areas of mathematics, science, technology, engineering and international studies. Students will begin their coursework with the core curriculum requirements.
13. Will I be required to take standardized tests?
No, the Texas Education Agency will waive the last STAAR or EOC exam.
14. What is a typical day for the students at the academy?
Academy students will report to campus by 8:00 a.m. and will be dismissed between 3:30 and 5:00 PM, depending on their schedule. Students will follow their class schedule as would any other TAMIU student. Students will be required to attend homeroom at Cowart Hall 211 on designated date. Attendance will be noted by signing in at the Texas Academy office in CWT 213. Students must sign in by 9:30 AM each morning. Failure to do so will result in an unexcused absence. Students must maintain a five day presence (Monday-Friday).
15. Where are the Academy Students housed?
The Julieta & Frank Staggs Academy of International and STEM Studies is located on the TAMIU campus in the Dr. Billy F. Cowart Hall, room 213 (offices) and room 211 (classroom).
16. Can students participate in University life?
Yes, students will be able to participate in University life. Some organizations offer numerous leadership and service opportunities, from Student Government to campus clubs, to musical and theatrical groups and intramural athletics. The University sponsors dances, game and activity nights, movies, plays, and recreation. Academy students are at liberty to participate in many of the TAMIU sponsored organizations and events.
17. Is transportation provided to Texas A&M International University (TAMIU)?
At this time, the Academy does not offer transportation to its students. It is the student’s family responsibility to transport their student to and from the Academy.
18. Is there a dress code?
Neither the University nor the Academy imposes dress restrictions. Academy students are, however, expected to dress appropriate for school. More information on the dress code can be found in the Student Code of Conduct.
19. Are home-schooled students admitted?
Yes, but they may require additional documents and screening.
20. May I apply as a non-U.S. citizen?
Students (and Parents) who have Permanent Resident Cards or have received the I-797 Notice of Action approving permanent residency are eligible for admissions consideration. Some students with select visa types are eligible to domicile in Texas and are also eligible for admissions consideration. Visit our offices for more information.