Top photo: With Fox Tech High School students are SAISD
Superintendent Ruben Olivarez (far left), UTSA President Ricardo
Romo (far right) and Fox Tech principal Nancy York (left of
Romo). Bottom photo: Officials look on as students use Go
Center computers. (Photos by Mark McClendon)
Mobile Go Center to help close education gaps
(May 17, 2006)--Young San Antonians seeking tools to help them earn a college education now have access to an innovative mobile education resource center in their community. Dubbed the Mobile Go Center, the first in a statewide fleet of vehicles made its first stop at Fox Tech High School on May 16.
The Mobile Go Center is funded in part by an $800,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation to the College for All Texans Foundation. The centers are part of the College for Texans Campaign, which aims to close the gaps in Texas college participation and success by 2015. The initiative is part of the state’s higher-education plan, Closing the Gaps.
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The eight-year grant, originally awarded in 2005, will fund technology for the fleet of mobile education resources, equipping the vans with Internet-accessible computers and high speed Internet connections, the first of which will debut at Fox Tech. The Mobile Go Center's home base in San Antonio is The University of Texas at San Antonio, one of four universities and colleges in Texas participating in the initiative.
Public schools, colleges or universities in South Texas can schedule a Mobile Go Center visit by contacting Rita Cortez, TRIO Programs executive director for outreach, at (210) 458-5852.
Mobile Go Centers are designed to bring college-related information, motivation and assistance to students and their families. Funds from the AT&T Foundation grant also will support Mobile Go Centers and related efforts in other areas of Texas.
"The Mobile Go Centers will enable UTSA and other Texas colleges and universities to reach potential students where they live, work and attend school," said UTSA President Ricardo Romo. "In a city like San Antonio that is so spread out, the Go Centers are especially valuable in expanding our outreach efforts."
The objective of the College for Texans Campaign is to enroll in Texas colleges and universities an additional 430,000 academically prepared students -- beyond the 200,000 enrollment growth that was projected for 2015.
UTSA will use its Mobile Go Center to visit area middle and high schools to encourage students to attend college.
"The Texas Legislature created the College for Texans Campaign with the goal of encouraging more of our children to attend and graduate college," said City Councilman Roger Flores. "By bringing information about attending college directly into our communities, the Mobile Go Centers will certainly help achieve that objective."
Adding at least 630,000 more students -- a 60 percent increase over enrollment in 2000 -- and raising the annual number of graduates to more than 210,000 are essential in order for Texas to keep pace economically with the rest of the nation and the world.
"For our state to have a strong and vibrant future, we must all continue to work to ensure that every Texas child who dreams of attending an institution of higher education gets the opportunity to do so," said John Montford, AT&T senior vice president of state legislative and regulatory affairs and College for All Texans Foundation board chairman. "We commend Councilman Flores for his leadership in supporting innovative programs like the College for Texans Campaign and tools like these Mobile Go Centers that put the campaign into a better position to accomplish its goal."
The College for All Texans Foundation was created to generate the additional resources necessary to ensure the success of the College for Texans Campaign. In 2001, the Legislature directed the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to undertake the campaign and appropriated $5 million to initiate it in the 2002-2003 biennium. For the 2004-2005 biennium, despite the severe limitations on the state's budget, the Legislature provided $3 million, and federal funds for first-generation college students added $700,000. The foundation contributed nearly $1 million more from a range of donors including the San Antonio Endowment. For the 2006-2007 biennium, the Legislature again will provide $3 million; support through the foundation should well exceed $2 million.
The foundation aims to generate sufficient contributions to provide $2 million annually to the College for Texans Campaign for the next decade, with the expectation that the Legislature will maintain the public-private partnership by appropriating a like amount.
The new AT&T Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AT&T Inc., supports programs that build communities and improve access to information technologies, technology training and professional skills development. The foundation will provide more than $60 million in 2006 in charitable contributions, placing it among the top five corporate foundations in the country.
AT&T Inc. is one of the world's largest telecommunications holding companies and is the largest in the United States. Operating globally, AT&T companies are recognized as the leading worldwide providers of IP-based communications services to business and as leading U.S. providers of high speed DSL Internet, local and long distance voice, and directory publishing and advertising services. AT&T Inc. holds a 60 percent ownership interest in Cingular Wireless, the No. 1 U.S. wireless services provider with 55.8 million wireless customers.