“Aggieland North” is further rooting in Fort Worth as Texas A&M on Friday announced a partnership with Tarrant County College to open a new engineering academy this fall.
Unlike other community college programs where students must compete to transfer to a four-year college, program participants will automatically be enrolled in both Texas A&M and Tarrant Community College.
This allows them to seamlessly transition to courses at Texas A&M’s main campus in College Station after completing their core engineering coursework at Tarrant Community College’s South Campus.
It’s also a more affordable way to earn an engineering degree, a Texas A&M spokesperson said. The university estimates that students can save up to $4,200 per semester in tuition and fees.
About 30 Tarrant County College students will have the opportunity to take core engineering courses with Texas A&M faculty beginning this fall.
“I wouldn’t be here without a community college,” said John Hurtado, dean of the Texas A&M College of Engineering. He described how a community college counselor helped him navigate the unfamiliar world of academia that set him on the path to a career in aerospace engineering.
“I know these people are here in Tarrant County, and I know students today still need this help,” Hurtado said.
Saginaw Boswell High School alumna Isabel Garcia attended a similar internship Texas A&M Academy of Engineering at Dallas College. She said the program provided her with an affordable entry point into higher education at a time when she lacked the resources to attend a four-year institution.
She joked about her apprehension of having to travel to take classes in Dallas, which she called “the forbidden lands,” but said the program helped her get used to A&M’s rigorous course load and had prepared her to complete her degree in electrical engineering at Gare du College.
Garcia said she would have benefited from an academy program closer to home, but said she was excited about the impact that program would have on the academy’s next cohort of students.
Her brother, a high school student, was inspired by her experience to explore a career in computer engineering, Garcia said.
“I’m so excited that he will have an opportunity that will be far less stressful than what I had to go through to pursue his career in engineering,” she said.
This program will make higher education more equitable and accessible in Southeast Fort Worth, City Councilman Chris Nettles wrote in an email. Its district covers southeast Fort Worth, where Tarrant County College’s South Campus is located.
“We encourage all local or state colleges to pursue partnerships with TCC’s South Campus so that low-income communities in South Fort Worth can begin to navigate their way to higher education and six-figure salaries. “, he wrote.
Another board member, Carlos Flores, himself an aerospace engineer, wrote in an email that the program offers students the opportunity to enter “the exciting and competitive field of engineering.”
“The need for engineers in various fields continues to be a local and national concern. Efforts like this will go a long way in meeting that need,” Flores wrote.
Jared Williams, an educator and board member representing Southwest Fort Worth, said in a text message that programs like this “are an important investment in the future of our students.”
Students who complete these types of programs will be “well prepared to develop their lives in Fort Worth neighborhoods and strengthen Fort Worth as a center of innovative excellence and economic success,” Williams said.
Mayor Mattie Parker applauded Texas A&M and Tarrant County College, writing in an email that the partnership is an innovative solution to increasing the number of educational opportunities in Fort Worth.
The partnership is part of a larger effort by Texas A&M to get a foothold in Fort Worth, Chancellor John Sharp said Friday.
“We realized soon after we set up law school that Fort Worth was our kind of town,” Sharp said.
In November 2021, the university announced that it was building a Tier 1 research college campus around the site of its law school building at 1515 Commerce St.
A&M’s new downtown campus will house a center for innovation and research, which Sharp says will match Fort Worth’s growth, expand its industrial manufacturing job base and make the city a hub. hub for emergency communication research, biomedical research and nutritional sciences.
This story was originally published May 13, 2022 2:23 p.m.