UT ranks in top 20 with Teach for America participants

Elias Thompson

For the seventh consecutive year, UT held its position in the top 20 largest colleges and universities whose students join the Teach For America program.

This year, 63 graduates from the University joined Teach For America, or TFA, placing fourth among large universities with alumni involved in the organization. TFA is a nonprofit organization, founded in 1990, in which recent college graduates and professionals teach in low-income communities for two years. Since TFA’s establishment, more than 28,000 members have completed their two-year mission to help eliminate educational inequality, according to the nonprofit’s website. 

TFA employees can become members of AmeriCorps, a federal service organization, and receive student loan forgiveness, educational awards and payment to pursue further education after spending two years with TFA. 

Lexie Heller, national recruitment team manager for TFA, said the University continues to make the list every year because of the energy of its graduating students.

“Longhorns are passionate, diverse, service-oriented and high-quality in terms of their academic abilities and leadership potential,” Heller said. 

According to Heller, TFA provides graduating students with opportunities to help underprivileged children achieve academic success.

“My experience with TFA was overwhelmingly positive,” Heller said. “I taught high school social studies in San Antonio, and my students achieved truly unprecedented academic success.”

Undeclared freshman Brandon Chan said he did not know much about TFA, but he was skeptical about teaching students who didn’t own a computer.

“It just seems like it might be hard to teach computers to kids that might not even own one,” Chan said. “That might make it all the more rewarding.” 

Chan said AmeriCorps seemed like an opportunity to pay off student loans while helping low-income students. 

“I’ve taken out some pretty harsh loans for college, but teaching computers to children in poorer communities and paying off my loans, while still earning a steady paycheck, sounds like something I’ll definitely look into,” Chan said.  

Heller said she hopes UT students will make an effort to look more into post-graduate opportunities available at TFA.

“UT graduates continue to impress me with their passion and conviction,” Heller said.