NOVEMBER 10, 2021 — The University of Texas at San Antonio and CAST Tech High School are building on their commitment to student success with a new partnership. The Early College Academy is a one-of-a-kind program that will accelerate a student’s college career to a professional high-demand career.
The Early College Academy gives students a unique opportunity to earn college credits that will count toward their degree program at UTSA, minimizing the cost of college for students and families while accelerating their ability to launch their careers into the San Antonio workforce sooner with an undergraduate degree.
“This initiative illustrates the power of partnerships. Staff from CAST Tech, UTSA, and SAISD co-created this program which benefits our students academically and financially, giving them the confidence they need to succeed post-graduation,” said Melissa Alcala, CAST Tech principal and UTSA alumna. “This investment being made by SAISD and UTSA through the Early College Academy assists us in creating a pipeline of local employees to fill the future technology and business positions here in San Antonio and beyond.”
All students at CAST Tech will have access to the Early College Academy, which offers them the opportunity to earn college credits within a UTSA degree program starting their sophomore year of high school. This partnership will provide transferable college credits towards a student’s degree program from the Carlos Alvarez College of Business: business, information solutions, and cybersecurity; College of Engineering and Integrated Design: computer engineering; and the College of Sciences: computer science.
UTSA currently provides CAST Tech students the ability to earn college credits. Over 45% of students from the class of 2021 earned college credits from UTSA. According to the UTSA Urban Education Institute, six semester credit hours of college courses were found to maximize college enrollment while nine semester credit hours were found to maximize college degree completion within four and eight years of high school graduation. With the Early College Academy, students will be able to take the first class in their major while attending high school, removing barriers and elevating opportunities for them.
“The San Antonio community benefits from career path and workforce accelerators that encourage education and retention,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “Our partnership with CAST Tech is one wonderful example as it showcases our commitment to work with our local schools to further enhance opportunities for high school students, and especially future UTSA students interested in career opportunities tied to San Antonio’s growing economy.”
CAST Tech High School was created in partnership with the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) and the CAST Schools Network to prepare students for high-demand careers in technology and business.
“The CAST mission is to maximize opportunity for students; we do that by giving students a taste of college life in a meaningful way while in high school, taking them closer to their final goals and saving them money on a college degree,” shared Jeanne Russell, executive director for the CAST Schools Network.
The school has consistently prototyped new ideas that not only benefit students on campus but across the entire district.
“This unique partnership speaks to the talent and tenacity of our teachers and our students, and it will give our young citizens the chance to earn their college credits toward their diplomas as they pursue in-demand careers,” added Robert Jacklich, SAISD’s interim superintendent. “We are so proud of the work that they do, and we could not be more excited to be a part of a program that has our kids' best interests in mind. It truly is an honor to work with our community partners at UTSA as we continue our mission of creating a national model urban school district.”
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The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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