Tuesday, February 14, 2012

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The University of Texas System Launches Finish@UT Program

New Program Provides Opportunity for Students to Finish their Bachelor's Degree Online, Offers Up to $60,000 in Scholarships 

SAN ANTONIO – The University of Texas System is advancing its efforts to help adults complete their college degrees by launching a new program that will also leverage the nation's efforts to have the highest percentage of college graduates in the world. At a community reception held at Café College in San Antonio, Board of Regents' Chairman Gene Powell and other System representatives officially launched Finish@UT.

Finish@UT, a new online bachelor's degree completion program, offers students a flexible path to completion of their undergraduate degree through three System institutions, with all coursework to be completed online. Students can earn a bachelor of science in university studies at The University of Texas at Arlington, a bachelor of multidisciplinary studies through The University of Texas at El Paso or a bachelor of arts in humanities through The University of Texas of the Permian Basin. The program allows students to combine classes from all three institutions to earn accredited four-year bachelor degrees.

“For several years, it has been a goal of mine to find ways to use technology to provide an accessible online degree program for Texans who have successfully completed college courses but have not earned a college degree,” Regents’ Chairman Gene Powell said. “For 3.4 million adults in Texas, life got in the way and they weren’t able to complete their degrees. We need to help them meet their educational goals and advance their careers. More Texans with degrees will strengthen our knowledge-based economy, provide professional expertise in many fields, and help us remain globally competitive,” Powell added.

"A college degree is often a critical step towards fulfilling professional and personal goals,” said Martha Ellis, Ph.D., Associate Vice Chancellor Community College Partnerships for the System. “The reality of earning that degree is not always so simple. Nearly one out of every two students at four-year universities works 20 hours or more, while one in four college students have children they need to care for at home. Oftentimes, there’s quite a bit of juggling going on. Finish@UT was designed for those aspiring college graduates for whom getting to the campus and meeting the traditional college schedule can be a struggle.”

The online program was created for students who have earned some college credits as a flexible and affordable path to completion of their undergraduate degree without compromising the quality of their education. With accelerated 7- to 15-week courses, Finish@UT offers adults the ability to take courses during times and at locations convenient for them. 

Degrees offered through Finish@UT are designed to help students build skills in the sought-after areas of communication, research, project management, problem solving and critical thinking.

"The jobs of the 21st century global economy increasingly require a college diploma," said San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro. "In San Antonio, we've set a bold SA2020 goal to increase college completion and programs like Finish@UT are the kind of creative solutions we need to promote in Texas."

To encourage potential students statewide to get back to finish their degrees, Finish@UT is conducting a video contest inviting Texas residents to submit a short video showcasing why it is important for them to complete their degree, why they want to return and what a degree from a UT institution would mean to them. Three entrants will win up to $20,000 in scholarship funds to be applied to tuition for the Finish@UT program. The deadline to enter is March 16, 2012.

A comprehensive website has been created to provide potential students easy access to the information they need to return to finish their degree – www.FinishAtUT.org offers more information about the program, and details on the scholarship contest.

About The University of Texas System
The University of Texas System is one of the nation's largest higher education systems, with nine academic universities and six health institutions. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $13.1 billion (FY 2012) including $2.3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. Preliminary student enrollment exceeded 215,000 in the 2011 academic year. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state's health care professionals annually. With roughly 87,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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