NEWS: TAMIU receives recognition for helping students climb economic ladder
By Glenys Maldonado
Published Monday, April 11, 2022
Adding to its list of accomplishments and notoriety, TAMIU received a third-place national ranking in economic mobility.
The movement from low-income to higher-income levels for individuals and their families is an important aspect regarding economic mobility.
“It’s not all about money, it is … choice, opportunity, to live wherever you would like to,” Texas A&M International University Associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Projects John C. Kilburn said. “It is the freedom to choose rather than be told what to do.”
The University’s population makes it quite clear why international is in its name, combining a diversity of faculty with international and non-commuter students.
“Once you get to college you have the opportunity to meet international students, get to meet students who are out-of-state students, who are out of the city, who had different experiences,” Kilburn said. “You realize that your way isn’t the only way and there’s a world out there and [it] brings a lot of professors here from outside that would say, ‘Hi, I didn’t grow up here. Here’s the way we did this.’ Many of the internationals have different customs, different ideas, different approaches, different ways to think and when you come for college education you have the opportunity to learn the different approaches.”
The University mastered the ability to expose students to a world outside of the walls of the city of Laredo through its educational programs. It is the power of culturing that aids students to get to that next level and leave the University with an open mind.
“What we have done in our university has helped develop leaders for this region and people who can compete with those from outside of this region,” Kilburn said. “So TAMIU, in its mission, we are preparing students to compete in a global environment by having the skills. We ask you to do a little bit more, it’s worth it … ask you to do more, but you will get more.”
TAMIU challenges its students to get out of their comfort zones, but the results typically prove to be worthwhile.
“You can see these numbers that show that we do it as well, or better, than the vast majority of places in America,” Kilburn said.
Along with many other universities in the nation, TAMIU has been put to a study. These universities checked up on alumni after 10 years of leaving their institutions.
According to a 2017 article titled “Economic diversity and student outcomes at TAMIU” in “The New York Times” by Larry Gregor, the likelihood that a student at TAMIU moved up two or more income quintiles is at 48%. Additionally, about 8.1% of students at TAMIU came from a poor family but became a rich adult. The share of children who were from the bottom fifth of incomes as students and moved to the top fifth as adults are at 25%.
News of the University’s recognition reached the ears of TAMIU Student Government Association President Lourdes Boardman.
“Well, I actually feel very proud about that,” Boardman said. “I do think that at TAMIU you have a great ability to make students feel proud of what they’re doing and love what they’re doing. So, knowing that people are able to improve their life and their quality, it’s something really amazing.”
The University creates an impactful and long-term investment with its students, not only through their education, but as leaders and individuals.
“What I do love a lot is that in this University: we’re more than just a number,” Boardman said. “People do care about us. It makes us feel special, but also makes us understand that we’re important in this life, that our voice matters, that we are taken care of and that they’re going to do whatever it takes in order for us to grow as individuals.”
Studying at TAMIU can be a one-of-a-kind experience. From deer and wildlife strolling by, to its diversified population and cultures, its education program serves a long-term impact on each student, which prepares them for future endeavors.