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TWU extends free tuition to STEM-focused charter school students

 Students at Texas Woman’s University campus.
Courtesy photo
Students at Texas Woman’s University campus.

A group of charter school students just got a more affordable path to college.

Texas Woman’s University announced this week that it has partnered with Harmony Public Schools to offer high schoolers a shot at enrolling at TWU tuition-free.

Harmony Public Schools is a Texas-based charter school system that emphasizes STEM subjects. The network operates 60 schools for children in preschool through 12th grade. Sixteen of its campuses are in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Leaders from TWU and the charter school network signed an agreement to launch the partnership on Monday.

The partnership means that Harmony’s seniors can pledge to participate in the program, which offers them a tuition-free enrollment through the university’s zero-tuition guarantee. The TWU tuition program was unveiled in 2022 and offers free tuition for Texas residents who are eligible for Pell grants. It also covers fees that aren’t met by federal or state financial aid or institutional scholarships.

 Harmony Public Schools students were awarded scholarships Monday during a partnership signing with Texas Woman’s University to offer free tuition.
Denton Record-Chronicle
Harmony Public Schools students were awarded scholarships Monday during a partnership signing with Texas Woman’s University to offer free tuition.

Javier Flores, TWU vice president for enrollment management, said the partnership is another initiative TWU is using to promote higher education among high school graduates. As college costs have soared, many students have begun to weigh the benefits of a degree against the likelihood of decades of student loan repayments.

“Texas Woman’s is committed to providing an outstanding education to students from all backgrounds, particularly those for whom a college education is financially out of reach — and this partnership helps achieve that,” Flores said.

Harmony Public Schools is a Texas STEM field pioneer educator. Field pioneer schools focus on improving STEM teaching and student’s academic performance in STEM subjects for underserved populations. Open-enrollment schools like Harmony apply the Texas Education Agency’s Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Initiative, and can offer dual credit at no cost to students. Harmony students learn through project-based curricula.

Harmony Public Schools CEO Fatih Ay said in a news release that the charter school system is proud to partner with TWU, saying the university “shares our mission of empowering scholars through student-centered learning approaches and high-quality educational opportunities.”

The partnership will also tap into a student population that TWU serves: young women. Harmony shares the mission to open doors to girls and to narrow the gap between men and women in college STEM programs. About 60% of female Harmony students go on to pursue STEM-related degrees. Just 24% of female high school students pursue STEM-related degrees in college.

Copyright 2024 KERA. To see more, visit KERA.

Lucinda Breeding-Gonzales | Denton Record-Chronicle