Texas AFT partners with Texas A&M Commerce for free tuition for graduating high school students

Grants also provided for others
seeking higher education degrees

Texas AFT joined with several education organizations today to partner with Texas A&M University at Commerce to provide free tuition for undergraduate students and grants for others seeking a college degree. Our union will be providing information and assistance to our members and their families to sign up for the program. 

In a virtual announcement today, College Dean Dr. Kimberly McLeod said the partnership groups were chosen because of their commitment to equity and access to education. “It gives us an opportunity for students who have a story to tell, a song to sing…it’s an opportunity for a young life to reach its maximum potential and possibility through higher education,” she said.

Graduating high school students will receive all tuition needed in excess of federal student aid they receive. Additional programs provide free textbooks and mentoring. Grants ranging from $350 to $650 also are available for those seeking to get their college degree later in life. 

“We are absolutely honored to be part of this partnership…to improve the lives of the families that we represent and the families that serve our students across this state,” said Texas AFT President  Zeph Capo at the ceremony. Capo said that as the first person in his family to go to college, he understood that “having to work full time through college was a real thing, having to depend on student loans to get through is a real thing, having to pay for those student loans on a teacher’s salary after graduating from college is a real thing.”

Capo noted that in addition to encouraging our members who are parents to high school seniors to take advantage of the program, Texas AFT would assist its entire union family—teacher aides, bus drivers, food service workers—anyone who wanted to pursue higher education. While support professionals seeking educator certification is an obvious pathway for our union to promote, Capo said any degree is possible. “This opportunity is going to open up doors…not to kids just that are graduating from high school, but for so many adults who are coming back, re-establishing their skills, and moving themselves forward to be the example for their children who are in public schools right now—folks like my mom, who went back to college years after getting us through high school.

Other partners include the Texas Alliance of Black School Educators, the Texas Association of Black Personnel in Higher Education, the Texas Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, the Texas Caucus of Black School Board Members, and the Mexican American School Board Association.

Stay tuned to the Hotline for more information on how to apply.