HISD aired a live virtual town hall meeting on Tuesday, April 28, to assist students pursuing postsecondary education options during the COVID-19 crisis.
The virtual town hall, which aired in English and Spanish, opened with remarks from HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan and featured experts in college admissions, scholarships and financial aid, testing requirements, and enrollment.
Dr. Lathan thanked everyone for their patience during this difficult time, saying, “Our goal is to give you access to knowledgeable individuals who can provide up-to-date information, resources, and answers to any questions you might have.”
ABC 13’s Tom Abrahams served as moderator for the English town hall, and Univision 45’s Osvaldo Corral moderated the Spanish broadcast. Abrahams began by asking two HISD alumni – Juan Venancio, an alumnus of EMERGE-HISD and a freshman at Harvard University, and Morgan Jackson, a senior at Xavier University in Louisiana – how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted them.
“The biggest challenge has been the transition to online learning,” Venancio said. “Our professors and deans are available via Zoom, and they are helping us a lot.”
“As far as classes, at school I had access to camera equipment and editing software, but now I have to shoot and edit everything on my phone,” Jackson, a Mass Communication major, said. “My department at Xavier is close-knit, and they have been very supportive.”
Na’Taria Muse, senior manager of College Readiness, said that students should contact their college advisors virtually for the rest of the school year, during the summer, and even next fall while in college. A search tool located at HoustonISD.org/CollegeReadiness is available for identifying college advisors.
Other topics addressed by participants during the town hall include:
- College Readiness will continue to host virtual events such as the Finish
Strong forum that took place April 29, and a COVID-19 page located here is available with updates from Texas colleges, testing
information, FAQs, and more. Families impacted by the pandemic can submit a
financial aid appeal to their college or university here.
- Admissions officers will work
with students on extending enrollment deadlines. Officers may reduce or waive deposit fees required to
secure a spot at their institution. May 1 is still national college decision
day, but extensions may be available, and funding can be requested, if
- Students can still earn college credit in AP, IB, and dual credit courses, as well as UT OnRamps. Click here for information on taking AP exams online. AP reviews are available daily at youtube.com/user/advancedplacement. For information on IB classes, see IBO.org/information-for-parents/ or email email@example.com. Dual credit classes resumed online March 31. HCC has instituted a pass/fail program for this semester, and summer dual credit will be online as well. See HCCS.edu/programs/dual-credit for more information. UT OnRamps enrollment continues. See Onramps.utexas.edu/students/ for details.
- HCC is supporting current and future students virtually by phone,
computer, and email, as well as providing new student orientation virtually. Bacterial
meningitis requirements have been extended until August 31. Families who are
experiencing hardships due to COVID-19 may submit a financial aid appeal by
completing a special circumstance form: HCCS.edu/applying-and-paying/financial-aid/.
- The University of Houston
extending the application deadline to June 1
and is accepting unofficial transcripts online, moving summer orientation
online, and allowing students to take the TSI (Texas Success Initiative) test remotely.
Fees are being waived, and students may upload letters of recommendation in
lieu of taking the SAT. Students can apply for grants and take classes over the
summer at a reduced cost. For information, call 713-743-1010 and select option
4 for Admissions, or visit www.uh.edu/admissions.
- Texas Southern University is
allowing students to email or upload everything online, including transcripts and bacterial meningitis
records. Students may be able to take their SAT or ACT at TSU or take them online through TSU.
Summer orientation will be online. TSU financial aid is managed by the Department
of Education, which has extended the deadline for admission and is re-evaluating
financial aid packages.
- HISD students and families can access resources relating to college access and enrollment at HoustonISD.org/CollegeReadiness. Information on resources such as counseling, wraparound services, food distribution, and more for families and students affected by COVID-19 can be found at HoustonISD.org/HealthAlerts.