WOODROW WILSON COMMUNITY FOUNDATION FACILITATES TUITION AGREEMENT BETWEEN TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY-COMMERCE AND WOODROW WILSON HIGH SCHOOL
The path to a prestigious college degree may now be little bit less steep for students at Woodrow Wilson High School. Thanks to a new agreement between Texas A&M University-Commerce and Woodrow Wilson High School—which was facilitated by the Woodrow Wilson High School Community Foundation—Woodrow students will have several opportunities for college preparation, as well as priority consideration and financial assistance for the college’s Honors College and Regents Scholar Program.
The college-readiness activities include tutoring sessions at Woodrow conducted by Texas A&M Commerce
Honors College students; support services through the University’s Hispanic Outreach Office; assistance with admissions, financial aid and scholarship applications; plus on-campus experiences, including a Summer Leadership Camp.
In addition, the University will give priority consideration to Woodrow students who meet the criteria and apply for the Honors College or the Regents Scholar Program. Generous financial aid will be part of the offering to students who are accepted. The Honors College attempts to provide a “debt-free education,” by covering tuition, fees and housing along with some meals and textbooks.
The Regents Scholar Program offers a $5,000 yearly academic scholarship to cover most tuition and fees, along with a $500 housing scholarship during the student’s first year on campus. For its part, Woodrow will identify and encourage high-potential students for the program, and, with help from the Foundation, assist with the logistics of space and transportation for the tutoring, summer camp and other activities.
The Woodrow Wilson High School Community Foundation, which is also included in the Memorandum of Understanding between the high school and the university, brought the two educational institutions together and helped craft the agreement. Richard H. Vitale, president of the Foundation, said, “We believed that this historic university in East Texas was looking for high-caliber students for its top-rated degree programs. And we knew that Woodrow was looking for extraordinary opportunities for graduates of its International Baccalaureate and other rigorous Academies. Once we brought the educators together, it was like magic.”
Vitale and Michael Morath, a fellow Foundation board member and a DISD trustee, started the process with a road trip to Commerce, Texas to meet with Dr. Dan R. Jones, president and CEO of Texas A&M University-Commerce. Both Vitale and Jones serve on the board of directors of the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce. Follow-up sessions with Kyle Richardson, Principal of Woodrow Wilson High School, and educators at both schools resulted in the details of the three-year partnership.
“Both Texas A&M-Commerce and Woodrow Wilson High School have long and charismatic histories,” said Principal Richardson. “With this new agreement, even more doors are opening to our students to achieve their dreams and the dreams of many of their families." President Jones added that it’s “boots on the ground” that make the real progress in advancing education in the United States. “Individual educators and community members working one-on-one are what bring about education reform,” he said.
Trustee Morath noted that this should be just the first of many partnerships between educational and community institutions that work to multiply the educational opportunities for Texas students. “Colleges want motivated, well-prepared young people and high schools need viable pathways for their graduates. The possibilities are exciting—and right there in front of us.”