Access and Success in Practice: Scaling the Texas OnRamps Model and Network
Jennifer Saenz and Jennifer Porter, The University of Texas at Austin

The University of Texas at Austin OnRamps logo

Friday, April 26

For every student who enrolls in ninth grade in Texas public schools, only 22 percent complete a college degree or certificate within six years of high school. College success is a problem across Texas—worse so for low-income, underrepresented students.

OnRamps was established to address this problem head on. Led by The University of Texas at Austin, this innovative and replicable initiative works to drive upward mobility, with a focus on the transition from high school to college. Among its primary offerings are dual enrollment courses for Texas high school students and professional development and learning for educators and campus staff.

OnRamps serves 29,407 students, more than half of whom are first-generation; 928 educators, 313 campuses; and 151 districts across Texas. Students are exposed to the academic and social expectations of a college classroom and empowered to take on the role of college student at a low risk. Educators and districts are engaged in robust professional learning, designed to promote collective growth and peer interaction, and to ensure students learn in and outside of the classroom.

Now in its seventh year, the impact of OnRamps is telling. To date, more than 60 percent of OnRamps students earned college credit. In 2016, 72 percent of OnRamps students enrolled in two- and four-year colleges, compared to 56 percent of non-OnRamps students across Texas. In addition, OnRamps saved Texas students over $17 million in course fees, not including textbooks and supplies (as based on average higher education institutions costs).

In this session, presenters and attendees discussed questions such as: How will we scale? How will we reach more students and meet needs across the country? How will K12, higher education, philanthropy, and educational think tanks come together and achieve greater impact?