The scholarship comes at an ideal time, as the university and HCAP student body work to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

As UTSA entered the post-pandemic education phase, it identified three major barriers to student success: financial management, mental health and academic performance. Students – especially first-generation students – indicated that a lack of experience and resources left them unprepared to balance the demands of family, work, and school.

Furthermore, many students have experienced worsening mental health conditions, including symptoms caused by stress caused by financial hardship, family dynamics, hunger, and other acute crises that have heightened feelings of hopelessness during the pandemic.

With this grant, HCAP and the university plan to complement and enhance services for at-risk students by implementing three programs designed to address each major barrier.

“Funding from the US Department of Education will help HCAP launch several programs to improve students’ experiences while at UTSA and their prospects for finishing the degree program, with the skills needed to succeed in their careers,” he said. Lynn CosmanDean of HCAP. “We are very proud of Dr. Cordova for receiving this funding and look forward to expanding the HCAP programs to benefit all UTSA students by the end of the scholarship funding period.”

To address students’ financial management skills, HCAP will build and deliver a series of financial fluency sessions that gradually build on previous content so that students can move from financial literacy to fluency.

As part of this series of courses, the College and UTSA will identify Financial Ambassadors: Undergraduate, paid part-timers with the responsibility to reach out to peers and connect them to related services. For example, ambassadors can be placed in UTSA’s Whataburger Resource Room, a key point of contact for students in need of support.

In addition to financial fluency sessions, HCAP plans to enhance UTSA’s mental health efforts by providing additional training in well-being and mental health for students. Although there are more than 100 individuals at UTSA who have completed mental health first aid training, the majority are administrative and/or counseling. By offering this training to students, the university is more likely to reach students in need.

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