Academic Bridge Program: Back to the Books
GOAL: $2,500 for the Academic Bridge Book Fund
Every year books become more expensive. For the students that go through the Academic Bridge Program, book costs can be an extreme financial burden. Our goal through the Academic Bridge Book Fund is to raise enough money to provide a minimum of five high potential, first generation college students the funds necessary to purchase their textbooks for the semester.
The Academic Bridge Book Fund allows for students to purchase books, use them for the semester, and then pass them on to another deserving student. One book can bring life-changing opportunities to multiple students.
About Academic Bridge
The Academic Bridge Program (ABP) recruits and supports underrepresented, first-generation college students who have high rankings in Dallas-area public high schools. The program, established in 2000, serves approximately 160 students each year. The program was developed to encourage more Dallas Independent School District (DISD) students to attend the University with the support of additional resources and committed personnel to help them achieve success. They are admitted based on UT Dallas criteria, as well as individual interviews and personal references. Though these students are in the top 20 percent of their class, they may not have had the college preparatory training to make the transition to the rigorous UT Dallas program. Through this program, they graduate from the University at a rate of approximately 70 percent — significantly higher than state and national averages.
Students receive ongoing support throughout their college years, including tutoring, mentoring and peer advising by senior ABP students. ABP staff members advise students to help keep them on the path to earning a college degree. An ABP study center gives students a place on campus to study, receive tutoring and touch base with ABP staff and students. A computer lab also helps students to study on campus and provides easy access to computers for those students who cannot afford their own. The ABP staff helps to arrange paid internships for students related to their studies and career plans. Many are kept on as full-time employees after the internship.
Statistics and Demographics
Success is measured by freshman retention rates, grade-point averages and graduation rates. The retention rate for ABP freshmen is approximately 90 percent, and the grade-point average of last summer’s freshman class is 3.2. Approximately 70 percent of the program's participants graduate from UT Dallas. Increasing the graduation rate not only helps the students, but also their extended families and the community at large. They become role models for family members, peers and their own children.
The demographic breakdown of the Academic Bridge Program is as follows: 48 percent are Hispanic, 27 percent are African-American, 18 percent are Asian and 7 percent are Caucasian. Seventy-one percent are DISD graduates and the rest are from adjacent school districts. Sixty-six percent are male and 34 percent are female.
Dr. George Fair dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies, vice president of Diversity and Community Relations and a professor with UT Dallas for 40 years founded and directs the Academic Bridge Program. He is a national authority on education for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.