STEM

Texas A&M and Texas CCs Team Up to Boost to Engineering Degrees

A Texas university and four community colleges are working together to draw students into engineering and keep them on track to graduation. Texas A&M University has joined up with Houston Community College, Texas Southmost College in Brownsville, Alamo Colleges in San Antonio and El Centro College in Dallas to form the Texas A&M-Chevron Engineering Academy.

Students who qualify will pursue two years of coursework at specific two-year colleges, including one engineering course per semester taught by a Texas A&M instructor on the community college campus. That portion of the program will allow students to remain close to home and save about $14,000 towards their four-year degree. If they maintain a 2.5 cumulative grade point average, they'll be allowed to complete their engineering degrees in College Station, Texas, where A&M is located, choosing from among 16 different engineering degrees offered at the university.

"We are excited about this program because our goal is to attract the very best students to Texas A&M Engineering, even if circumstances require them to stay close to home for the first two years of college," said M. Katherine Banks, vice chancellor and dean of Texas A&M Engineering. "This is not a traditional transfer program. The Academy students are enrolled in the engineering college at Texas A&M from day one. We are committed to supporting these students throughout their academic program, which will result in a degree from one of the premier engineering colleges in the nation."

The Texas Workforce Commission has projected a 19 percent growth in engineering jobs in the next 12 years, equating to more than 43,000 jobs.

Program support is being provided by Chevron, which donated $5 million to support the academy at the community colleges. In 2014 the energy company invested nearly $95 million in education partnerships and programs worldwide.

The new Texas program will start in fall 2016.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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