At a Crossroads
Unique partnership helped guide 10,000 students toward college in 2012
Getting into college is like running a marathon that begins in 7th grade and doesn’t end until senior prom. Imagine running this race without a clearly defined course or knowledge about proper training.
Many potential first-generation college students face this exact challenge. To help them get the guidance they need, UT Arlington co‑founded University Crossroads, a partnership of 50 colleges, universities, businesses, and other organizations that was created to expand access to higher education to first-generation students and those from low- to moderate-income households. University Crossroads offers direct aid in the college process from University representatives, including more than a dozen programs on topics like college awareness and readiness, career exploration, and financial literacy. The goal is to prepare the students academically, financially, socially, and culturally for educational pursuits beyond high school.
“University Crossroads is unique in that otherwise rival institutions have come together, united by the knowledge that helping students and parents navigate the college maze and find the best fit will ensure student success and persistence through graduation,” says Michele Bobadilla, director of the program and UT Arlington’s senior associate vice president for Outreach Services and Community Engagement and assistant provost for Hispanic Student Success. “This will produce more college graduates, fill critical need areas, and boost our state’s economy.”
She notes that the program’s goals are aligned with those of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, whose “Closing the Gaps” initiative strives to see the state award 210,000 college degrees or certificates each year by 2015.
In the 2011‑12 school year, University Crossroads served more than 10,000 students and 2,500 parents. In cooperation with the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s “Stars on the Rise” program, the program also helped raise $4.7 million in scholarships, which were awarded to 273 students.
“A college education offers options,” Dr. Bobadilla says. “We know that the first diploma is the first step to transforming families for generations. Together with our partners, our efforts provide the pathway to college access and success by building a foundation based on college readiness and academic rigor.”
University Crossroads is sponsored by Capital One Bank and run out of an educational storefront on the first floor of the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.