ASU and College Track co-design curriculum to bridge education, opportunity gaps for first-gen students


September 13, 2023

First-generation students face many barriers to pursuing higher education — from cost to lack of access and support.

A new partnership between Arizona State University and college-completion nonprofit College Track seeks to address this issue by creating an integrated curriculum that provides first-generation and underserved college students the skills to thrive across the most formative years of their lives. ASU sign surrounded by palo verde blooms. The partnership aims to make the transition from high school to college seamless by facilitating enrollment in ASU Universal Learner Courses, which are taught by ASU faculty and aligned with degree programs. ASU photo Download Full Image

The partnership aims to make the transition from high school to college seamless by facilitating enrollment in ASU Universal Learner Courses, which are taught by ASU faculty and aligned with degree programs. The curriculum spans 10 years of a student’s education, starting from ninth grade through college — and beyond.

To allow for flexibility, the high school program is blended — combining ASU’s online coursework with College Track’s on-site staff to provide in-person engagement. The high school scholars can access the integrated curriculum at any of College Track’s 12 centers across the country, while college scholars can access ASU’s Professional Skills for Everyone curriculum online, 24/7.

Through ASU Local, participating students can choose to learn and collaborate with peers and professionals in downtown locales like Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. These ASU Local cohorts enable students to stay in their communities while they pursue their degrees.

“ASU’s partnership with College Track reflects our commitment to enable more learners to turn their dreams into realities," says Maria Anguiano, executive vice president of ASU’s Learning Enterprise. “If we meet learners where they are with learning opportunities early on, and we really stay with them and support them, there is nothing they can’t accomplish. This is a commitment to every learner that we will help them reach their college and career goals." 

The innovative partnership is also opening up new opportunities at ASU’s Tempe campus. Up to five College Track scholars will receive full tuition to ASU, advancing their journeys together as a campus-immersion cohort through Barrett, The Honors College.

“We are looking forward to welcoming these College Track scholars,” says Tara Williams, dean of Barrett, The Honors College. “In Barrett, they’ll have access to incredible resources and opportunities to enrich their undergraduate experience and prepare them for their next steps. We’re excited to become a part of these students’ learning journeys and to support them as they thrive in — and enhance — the honors community.”

As a college-completion nonprofit, College Track equips students facing systemic challenges with the tools to graduate and unlock a world of possibilities. Starting in ninth grade, College Track embarks on a 10-year journey with each student, providing a program they can leverage to create a pathway to success and brighter horizons.

This partnership enables us to fully explore the efficacy and potential of a blended learning environment that offers coursework in a space that is intentionally designed to affirm the talent, intellect and contributions of students from underserved communities who want to be the first in their family to earn a bachelor’s degree,” says Shirley M. Collado, president and CEO of College Track. ASU and College Track co-designed this program to deliberately create something new, something that would demonstrate how it's possible to shift the paradigm of American education toward inclusion and full participation.”

Strategic Communications Advisor to the EVP, Learning Enterprise