Program overview

  • Encouraging students to transfer to public four-year institutions: The Texas Transfer Grant Program provides one-semester grants to students who transfer from two-year community colleges to Texas-based, public four-year institutions. The goal of the program is to remove financial barriers to transferring to four-year institutions.

  • $5,000 grants for students: The program provides students with a $5,000 grant when they enroll at a public four-year university for at least 9 credit hours, with the money incorporated into students’ financial aid packages. It is funded by the US Department of Education’s Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund and administered by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

  • Eligibility determined by income and academic performance: In order to be eligible to receive a grant, students must attend a community college, have a history of good academic performance, and come from a low-income background. Academic performance is measured by a postsecondary GPA of at least 2.0 and accumulation of at least 24 college-level credits. Low-income status is determined based on Pell Grant eligibility.

  • Communication about and guidelines for participation: Students who are eligible to receive a fall Texas Transfer Grant receive multiple emails and physical letters over the summer before they begin their fall semester (typically during the summer prior to their second year). These communication materials inform students of their eligibility and outline the steps they need to take to receive funding: apply to and be accepted at a four-year Texas public higher education institution, file the FAFSA, and enroll for a minimum of nine credit hours.

One study with a rigorous design suggests that the Texas Transfer Grant Program is a promising strategy for increasing enrollment at public four-year colleges and universities.

  • Preliminary results from a 2023 randomized controlled trial found that the Texas Transfer Grant Program increased the proportion of students who enrolled in a Texas public four-year institution by 1.4 percentage points, relative to members of a control group.
  • Provide support for students to complete the FAFSA: Filing the FAFSA is a requirement for eligibility to receive a grant through this program. Implementing agencies should offer workshops or other resources to assist students with completing the FAFSA, which ensures that they are eligible to receive any grant funding. In addition, this ensures that all students are accessing the federal financial aid available to them.

  • Communicate as early as possible about grant eligibility: In the pilot version of this program, some students shared that they would have benefited from more time between learning about the grant and enrolling for the next semester. Programs should consider sending out communication materials about eligibility during the spring semester in order to ensure students have sufficient time to plan their transfer and complete their application materials.

  • Incorporate data about spring enrollment into eligibility calculation: To maximize the intended impact of this grant opportunity, programs should target students who are unlikely to enroll in a four-year institution without grant funding. Programs should leverage both fall and spring enrollment data at community colleges and focus outreach on students who have not previously transferred by their spring semester.