Tyler, Texas (KETK)
Stephen F. Austin State University and Tyler Junior College officials today announced the creation of a formal Destination SFA program that will help students transfer more easily between the two institutions and continue to expand educational opportunities for young people all across Texas.
TJC President Dr. Mike Metke and SFA President Dr. Baker Pattillo signed the agreement during a ceremony in the board room of TJC’s White Administrative Services Building.
The Destination SFA program, which begins in the fall 2016 semester, will serve highly motivated TJC students who, upon meeting the program’s criteria and graduating from TJC with an associate’s degree, will transfer to SFA toward the goal of completing their baccalaureate degree.
Metke said, “For so many years, so many people have come to TJC, found out who they were and what they could become, formed friendships, and then their destination was SFA and they went on to great things.
“I’m really excited to sign this agreement with my dear friend, Dr. Baker Pattillo, whose own life illustrates that you can go wherever you want to in life via TJC and SFA. Baker and his wife Janice came to TJC, had a great history here, then went on to SFA.”
Pattillo, an Arp native, graduated from TJC in 1963 before transferring to SFA.
“They say you can’t go home again, but I don’t know about that,” Pattillo said. “Every time I come back here, I’m home again. I spent two of the best years of my life here at TJC.”
Pattillo also recognized Tyler residents James I. Perkins and Bob Garrett, who have both served as SFA Regents and been influential friends of both institutions.
Perkins is president and chairman of the board of Citizens 1st Bank and a member of the TJC Foundation Board of Directors. He was an SFA Regent from 1969 to ’81 and is a former SFASU Foundation trustee. SFA’s College of Education, the university’s largest school, is named the James I. Perkins College of Education.
Garrett is president and CEO of Fair Oil Company in Tyler. He has been a member of the SFA Board of Regents since 2007.
“Great influence on SFA comes from Tyler and this college,” Pattillo said.
He said the Destination SFA agreement with TJC aligns with SFA’s new strategic plan that will carry SFA into its centennial year in 2023.
“Under this new strategic plan,” he said, “the overarching goal is to increase our enrollment in a meaningful and substantial way, in a sustainable manner. And one of the ways we have agreed to do that is to reach out to two-year colleges and to make it easier for students to make a seamless transition to our university.”
Students from TJC who wish to transfer to SFA are encouraged to earn an associate’s degree and complete classes sufficient to be core complete. To transfer to SFA, a student must have a cumulative transfer GPA of 2.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale on all transferable courses. Some academic majors may have additional requirements. Transfer students must meet the same standards and criteria for admissions to major degree sequences as a native SFA student.
SFA will offer the Community College Transfer Scholarship to TJC students who meet stated criteria, and SFA will work closely with TJC students to inform them of other scholarship and financial aid opportunities. TJC students will be assigned a specific financial aid counselor at SFA, who can keep them updated on scholarship and financial aid information.
TJC students in the Destination SFA program will receive:
• Regular visits to TJC by SFA Enrollment Management staff members, who will answer questions and offer assistance
• Priority assignment to a dedicated residence hall floor in TJC’s Crossroads Hall, which will be decorated with SFA-related artwork and memorabilia
• Invitations to special events hosted on the SFA campus
• Access to the SFA Library System through the Interlibrary Loan Agreement
Pattillo said, “I’m going to work very hard to make sure TJC becomes our No. 1 feeder school. I want all the students at TJC to have the ability to transfer and have the same experience that Janice and I had when we left TJC.”