Office of the Governor Rick Perry

T-STEM Challenge Scholarship Receives $25 Million Donation from Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation

Thursday, July 21, 2011  •  Austin, Texas  •  Press Release

Gov. Rick Perry praised the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corporation for their donation of $25 million to the T-STEM Challenge Scholarship. The scholarship program was created by House Bill 2910, by Rep. Dan Branch and Sen. Judith Zaffirini, to help students pursuing degrees and certificates in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields receive the education necessary to compete in the global workforce.

"Thanks to TG's generous donation, Texas students now have one more resource to open the door to higher education opportunities, allowing them to effectively compete in today's high tech workplace," Gov. Perry said. "Texas' strong commitment to science, technology, engineering and math excellence makes our workforce more competitive and encourages our colleges and universities to design STEM programs that meet local employer needs. I applaud Sen. Zaffirini and Rep. Branch for their leadership on this important initiative."

The T-STEM Challenge Scholarship will provide competitive awards to regional partnerships between community and technical colleges and local employers to help attract, retain and graduate STEM students. The bill establishes a 50 percent matching requirement with local business and industry partners. Gov. Perry originally announced his proposal to create this scholarship in October 2009.

"In keeping with TG's public mission, we believe that our contribution to the T-STEM Challenge Scholarship program will help further opportunities for students to complete their college and career dreams," TG Board Chairman Ivan Andarza said. "We, like the governor and other state leaders, understand that Texas benefits when supplied with qualified, educated individuals. This is particularly true for areas of the workforce that include science and technology."

"I am delighted to thank TG for its commitment to helping Texas students access quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics education," Senator Zaffirini said."This $25 million award is a great start for the T-STEM Challenge Scholarship program and signals that Texas is serious about meeting the needs of today's employers."

Educating and graduating more Texas students in the STEM fields is critical for the state to maintain an equipped workforce and remain competitive. At Gov. Perry's directive, the Texas legislature established the T-STEM Initiative in 2005, which is part of the Texas High School Project and aims to more closely align high school curriculum with admission requirements for competitive colleges and qualifications needed to succeed in the workplace. Under this initiative, 51 T-STEM Academies have been created and served more than 17,000 Texas students. The Texas High School Project is a public-private initiative committed to increasing graduation and college enrollment rates in the state, and ensuring Texas students leave high school prepared for college and career success.

"Texas must intensify its efforts to recruit, retain, and graduate students in STEM fields to ensure we stake our claim in the 21st century economy," Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes said. "The T-STEM Challenge Scholarship will prove to be an invaluable tool for helping Texas achieve its goals of Closing the Gaps by 2015."

"The Texas High School Project is proud to join Gov. Perry, Texas Guaranteed, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in the next successful phase of the T-STEM initiative, an initiative that has already resulted in the creation of 51 T-STEM academies and seven T-STEM centers across our state reaching more than 17,000 high school students," said John Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of the Texas High School Project/Communities Foundation of Texas. "We are excited to partner in helping leverage a significant investment by TG to provide private matching funds nationally, statewide and regionally through local employers that will create meaningful internship experiences in critical STEM fields."

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