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Title page for Texan Smart

QEP 2021-2026

Many students at Tarleton State University identify as first-generation and/or low-income students and experience financial hardships during their pursuit of a higher education. The connection between financial issues and student success in college is widely acknowledged and may follow students into their post-college years. In developing Tarleton’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), the University prioritized this issue and designed the Texan Smart QEP to increase educational access and learning opportunities among all Tarleton students by strengthening resources to improve financial wellness and well-being.

The Texan Smart QEP emerged from a strategic planning process involving careful data analysis, meaningful dialogue, and collective decision-making. This two-year, two-phase process was inclusive and involved Tarleton stakeholders — administrators, faculty and staff members, current students, and alumni — who were affiliated with all Tarleton locations. The Texan Smart QEP is aligned with Tarleton’s strategic plan, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s (THECB) higher education strategic plan, and current national efforts focused upon addressing financial wellness and well-being among college students.  Over five years, Tarleton will commit resources to support the six student learning and student success outcomes for the Texan Smart QEP:

  1. Completers will describe financial attitudes, behaviors, and skills that correspond to financial wellness and well-being.
  2. Undergraduate and graduate students will recognize how student success is influenced by the interplay between personal financial circumstances and academic performance.
  3. Degree completion rates among undergraduate students will increase by six percentage points among first-time-in-college, transfer, and graduate student cohorts.
  4. Undergraduate students will identify and demonstrate marketable skills affiliated with their degree program and communicate those skills to potential employers.
  5. Undergraduate students will graduate with student loan debt that is at or below 60% of their first-year, post-graduation annual wages.
  6. Tarleton will improve processes and reduce student barriers to increase persistence and decrease time to degree. 

To meet the desired outcomes associated with the Texan Smart QEP, Tarleton will implement multiple actions intended to have a direct and indirect impact on student learning and student success. Actions associated with the Texan Smart QEP include new and existing initiatives that will be implemented in a well-timed and strategic manner. Furthermore, actions associated with the Texan Smart QEP involve stakeholders throughout the university community and beyond for maximum impact.

The Texan Smart QEP will formalize a comprehensive assessment plan with which to evaluate the six student learning and student success outcomes, as well as the actions that contribute to these outcomes. The Texan Smart QEP assessment plan uses quantitative and qualitative instruments to ascertain formative and summative information. Assessment data will be gathered and reviewed periodically and shared with members of the President’s Cabinet on an annual basis to determine any needed modifications. Additionally, the university community will be kept informed of the Texan Smart QEP progress through Tarleton’s Texan Smart QEP website, periodic email communications, and annual checkpoints in the fall.

The Texan Smart QEP is an auspicious and relevant topic. Prior to the characterization of COVID-19 as a pandemic in March 2020, institutional efforts were underway to address financial wellness and well-being among Tarleton students. However, the COVID-19 outbreak has induced increased financial hardships among Tarleton students and their families. With these circumstances in mind, the Texan Smart QEP has been designed to have a long-lasting, positive impact on all Tarleton undergraduate and graduate students, as well as members of the university community.