July 19, 2016


San Antonio, TX – Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) announced three federal grants from the U.S. Department of Education totaling $878,400.00 for the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). UTSA will receive the funding through the Talent Search Program, which aims to help identify and assist individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who have the potential to succeed in higher education. Talent Search is one of eight Federal TRIO Programs, which are targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to postbaccalaureate programs.
“All young people, regardless of their families’ financial background, should have the opportunity to earn a college degree,” said Rep. Castro. “UTSA will use this funding to identify disadvantaged Texas high schoolers who possess the drive and talent to complete a higher education but lack the resources that help other students gain admission to universities and thrive once they enroll. For example, many of the underserved young people who UTSA will target with this funding live below the poverty line in single-parent households and come from schools with a student/counselor ratio as high as 385 to one. The Department of Education’s generous grants will provide qualified students with academic and, ultimately, professional opportunities they otherwise might miss out on if not for UTSA’s outreach and support.”
The Talent Search program provides academic, career, and financial counseling to its student participants and encourages them to graduate from high school and continue on to and complete their postsecondary education. The program publicizes the availability of financial aid and assist participant with the postsecondary application process. Talent Search also encourages persons who have not completed education programs at the secondary or postsecondary level to enter or reenter and complete postsecondary education. The goal of Talent Search is to increase the number of youth from disadvantaged backgrounds who complete high school and enroll in and complete their postsecondary education.
"UTSA’s role in the Talent Search Program is another example of the university's top-tier outreach programs and its commitment to our community," said Jude Valdez, UTSA vice president for community services. "UTSA has a remarkable history of supporting traditionally underserved students who have a passion for a college education. I can't imagine a better place to invest than in the Texas' rising talent. This is what UTSA is about and it is what Tier One is all about."
UTSA will ensure that students who participate in programming funded by these grants receive academic tutoring in reading, writing, study skills, mathematics, and science. UTSA will also work to improve educational outcomes by introducing a strong plan to provide effective mentoring to students to increase the likelihood that they complete high school and enroll in a postsecondary institution. As required by the Talent Search Program, UTSA will also help students in preparing for college entrance examinations and completing college admission applications; assist students in completing financial aid applications, including the Free Application for Federal Student Aid; and facilitate connections to education or counseling services designed to improve the financial literacy and economic literacy of students and their parents, including financial planning for postsecondary education.
Specific grant information follows: 
    •    $240,000.00 for a duration of five years to serve 500 participants attending schools in the Bexar County. 
    •    $240,000.00 for a duration of five years to serve500 participants attending schools in the Uvalde and Zavala counties.
    •    $398,400.00 for a duration of five years to serve 830 participants attending schools in the Maverick and Kinney counties.