The University of Texas at San Antonio and the Alamo Colleges District on Nov. 9 announced an expanded transfer agreement that, for the first time, will allow eligible students to start at any of the five Alamo Colleges and then transfer to UTSA to complete a four-year degree while having educational costs covered at both institutions.

According to a news release, the Promise-to-Promise partnership enables Alamo Colleges students in the AlamoPROMISE program to transfer to UTSA, and have their tuition and fees covered for up to two academic years through the UTSA Bold Promise program.

AlamoPROMISE is a program that covers the full cost of tuition and required fees for new graduates from 47 participating high schools seeking an academic certificate or associate degree at one of the five Alamo Colleges, the release said, adding that UTSA’s Bold Promise program covers the full cost of tuition and fees for qualifying incoming undergraduates.

UTSA President Taylor Eighmy in a statement said the Promise-to-Promise partnership exemplifies what it means for higher education institutions to prioritize student success, creating pathways of accessibility so that students from all backgrounds can succeed.

“We’re so grateful for our partnership with Alamo Colleges District and look forward to working together to educate and graduate even more students to develop a stronger workforce for San Antonio,” Eighmy said.

The Promise-to-Promise partnership is just one component of a strategy developed by UTSA and ACD to provide students a more seamless transfer pathway between the two institutions, the release said.

Another strategy is dual admission and enrollment, which streamlines operations for all students who intend to transfer from one of the Alamo Colleges to UTSA through the expansion of two existing dual admission and enrollment programs that facilitate students’ transition from any of the Alamo Colleges to UTSA: Alamo Runners and Transitioning Roadrunners at Alamo Colleges , or On-TRAC.

Nearly 500 students have already benefited from the Alamo Runners and On-TRAC programs, the release said.

UTSA transfer student Nia Houston is among the first group of students in the Promise-to-Promise program, which is being piloted this fall and will be available broadly to eligible students admitted to UTSA for fall 2023.

Houston said she thought she would have to work full-time to pay for her college tuition. She also anticipated taking out student loans, according to the release.

With the Promise-to-Promise program, her financial worries were eliminated, and, today, the UTSA undergrad is focused on succeeding in her classes, the release said.

A 2020 graduate of Wagner High School, Houston began her college career at ACD during the pandemic. The AlamoPROMISE program on campus covered her tuition.

Houston earned her associate degree in 2021 and transferred to UTSA to complete a degree in business marketing. She will graduate from UTSA in summer 2023 completely debt-free. In her own words, she “hit the jackpot twice.”

ACD Chancellor Mike Flores said financial challenges should never stand in the way of attaining a higher education.

“I have no doubt that this partnership will be transformational for countless ... AlamoPROMISE students as they continue on the path of higher education. Through this partnership, we are not only making education tuition-free, but we are continuing to guide our students to success so they can prosper with high-wage, high-demand jobs,” Flores said.

The release said about 75% of Alamo Colleges students transfer to four-year universities to complete their degrees. The majority of those who transfer enroll at UTSA.

On average, the first-year retention rate for UTSA transfer students from the Alamo Colleges is 85%, and the average time to graduation is 2.7 years, the release said.

Together, the new Promise-to-Promise partnership strengthens the collaborative student support system across the partnering institutions and will ultimately help thousands of students save money and reduce the time it takes to complete a bachelor’s degree, officials from UTSA and ACD said.