North Texas Daily

Eagle Advantage On Track With National Agenda

Eagle Advantage On Track With National Agenda

January 20
00:16 2015

The Editorial Board

University officials were wise to launch Eagle Advantage, an enrollment plan offering Arlington ISD juniors in the top 20 percent of their class early acceptance into UNT. It is a move in line with the university’s enterprising plan for growth and improvement.

In short, the plan will encourage students at participating schools to consider UNT. Before, only high school seniors could apply to the university, but now, high school juniors will have a better idea of the school they will attend, diluting the stress during their senior year of high school.

Seniors graduating this spring will be grandfathered into the program, and juniors graduating in 2016 will be among the first in the country to have a secured spot at a top university.

Because of this, those students will be able to focus on ACT and SAT studies, as well as continuing their college search, this time with a fallback plan at UNT.

As senior year comes to a close, students buying into the plan could save time applying to schools, and prioritize on scholarships and much needed grants and loans.

Eagle Advantage is a means for UNT to market to the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area, a place where UNT is already highly competitive, contesting Texas Christian University, Southern Methodist University and University of Texas System schools. It makes sense: take away students from the rival universities to reduce competition while increasing potential for UNT. This plan should incentivize those students to apply to UNT, cycling them into the program, spurring more opportunity and growth for a program eager to become tier one.

While Eagle Advantage eases nervous college applicants, it doesn’t offer anything innovative to the recruiting scene, other than automatically accepting more students than usual and earlier. After all, high school students in the top 10 percent of their graduating class are automatically accepted at UNT.

Although the plan probably won’t change the game too much, students are the big winners. Imagine knowing where you’ll be going to school more than a year from beginning college. Luckily for Arlington ISD students, UNT is bursting at the seam to reach new heights.

A Denton Record-Chronicle story reported the plan came about because President Neal Smatresk and Arlington Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos have been friends since Smatresk’s time at the University of Texas at Arlington. When Cavazos heard Smatresk was back in DFW, he had to partner with him.

That goes to show it pays to know some people. In this case, current UNT students and faculty benefit, likewise for future faculty and students. Smatresk continuously shows his wisdom to the UNT community, coming at a time of prosperity and excitement for UNT.

We urge Smatresk and UNT administrators to partner with other area schools to make Eagle Advantage a reality for more students. Denton ISD is the most ideal candidate for such expansion.

The Eagle Advantage was announced on the cusp of President Obama’s vision for education. The plan, a liberal policy, would grant two free years of community college education to all students who maintain a 2.5 GPA.

UNT shares a similar vision with its Eagle Advantage, realizing the necessity for a foundation in higher education. A nation cannot improve without an educated workforce. UNT is helping this cause with Eagle Advantage. We hope the university will continue this trend.

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