Report: UNT Dallas tops state as most effective in serving first-generation students

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UNT Dallas graduation ScholarShot report

The University of North Texas at Dallas ranks No. 1 in the state for effectively serving first-generation, low-income students, according to a study conducted by the Dallas-based nonprofit ScholarShot.

The organization released a report card that grades public institutions in Texas on how well they serve economically disadvantaged students who are the first in their families to attend college. Twenty-eight of the state’s 35 public institutions participated in a survey that used graduate outcomes, academic engagement, financial management and interventions as metrics to rank the institutions.

UNT Dallas topped the rankings.

“UNT Dallas was founded on the mission of providing students in our urban Dallas communities with an affordable pathway to a college degree and socioeconomic mobility,” UNT Dallas President Bob Mong said. “A majority of our students come from challenging economic backgrounds and are often the first in their families to attend college. We take our mission to empower students, transform lives and strengthen communities to heart. We thank ScholarShot for creating this important grading system.”

The report was created to address a “blind spot” in Texas education, ScholarShot says in its press release. ScholarShot describes the blind spot as a “failure of our education system to transition first-generation, low-income students from high school to career.”

ScholarShot reports that, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, 51.7% of students enrolled in four-year public universities are economically disadvantaged. UNT Dallas enrollment eclipsed 4,000 for the first time in Fall 2019. The student body is 85% minority and more than 70% are first-generation students.

UNT Dallas has created an affordable pathway for students to earn a college degree. By providing the lowest tuition costs in Dallas-Fort Worth, the university ranks No. 1 in Texas – and No. 3 in the country -- among public universities for lowest student debt upon graduation, according to Lend.edu

Backed by its Career Readiness Education program, a commitment to experiential learning opportunities and an expansion in student advising and counseling services, UNT Dallas has increased retention and graduation rates.

“Graduating our students, career-ready and free of crippling debt, is our ultimate goal,” Mong said.