Blinn, Texas A&M alumnus opens doors for the next generation of college students

Blinn, Texas A&M alumnus opens doors for the next generation of college students Cleveland Jones guides prospective students as Admissions Coordinator at the RELLIS Campus

August 9, 2018

Cleveland JonesAs a first-generation college student, Blinn College District alumnus Cleveland Jones grew up with limited knowledge about his options in higher education.

Looking for an affordable pathway to his bachelor’s degree, the Huntsville native enrolled in the Texas A&M-Blinn Transfer Enrollment at A&M (TEAM) Program in 2010, which allowed him to take one general academic course at Texas A&M University each semester and the remainder of his courses at the Blinn-Bryan Campus.

“The TEAM Program served as a springboard for my education,” Jones said. “Blinn offered such advanced courses with experienced instructors that I was able to transfer seamlessly to Texas A&M.”

Jones earned his Associate of Science degree in chemistry from Blinn and his bachelor’s degree in bioenvironmental sciences from Texas A&M with hopes of becoming a high school science teacher. After working a short stint as a high school and college advisor, Jones decided to forgo the sciences and pursue a career in higher education, using his own experiences to help the next generation of college students start their academic journey.

Since February, Jones has served as an Admissions Coordinator for the RELLIS Academic Alliance, an innovative partnership between Blinn and The Texas A&M University System that offers students an affordable and convenient pathway to a bachelor’s degree from several A&M System regional universities, including Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Prairie View A&M University, Tarleton State University, Texas A&M International University, West Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University-Texarkana, Texas A&M University-Kingsville and Texas A&M University-Central Texas.

Jones has spent the past five months traveling across the state and introducing students to the opportunities that will be available beginning this fall at the RELLIS Campus in Bryan.

“Just like the TEAM Program, the RELLIS Academic Alliance is a great collaboration between Blinn and the A&M System,” Jones said. “I experienced such high energy from the faculty and staff during my college career, and I hope to bring that same enthusiasm to incoming students.”

Blinn will open the Walter C. Schwartz Building, a new 83,000-square-foot facility at the RELLIS Campus, for the Fall 2018 semester. All students at RELLIS will utilize the Schwartz Building’s 19 classrooms and eight laboratories during the first academic year.

The Texas A&M System’s academic facility, located across the street from Schwartz Building, is scheduled for completion in June 2019. Upper-division students at RELLIS will seamlessly complete their bachelor’s degrees in related fields at the facility upon its completion.

In addition to a seamless transition process, the RELLIS Academic Alliance offers a competitive tuition rate. Students taking Blinn courses at the RELLIS Campus pay Blinn’s tuition rate of $111 per semester credit hour for out-of-district students.

Students enrolled in upper-division courses at one of the A&M System regional universities at the RELLIS Campus pay $295 per semester credit hour, or $8,850 for a 15-hour course load for the fall and spring semesters – almost $2,000 less than many other universities in the region.

Last month, Blinn enrolled its 1,000th student who will attend classes at the RELLIS Campus this fall.

In preparation for the upcoming school year, Jones and his team continue to spread the word about the RELLIS Academic Alliance, hosting information sessions and transfer fairs at Blinn, local high schools, and community events.

“I go to work every day with the goal of changing at least one life,” Jones said. “I want to be that person at the front gate to help a student access the variety of resources the RELLIS Academic Alliance has to offer. If I can successfully guide a student through their educational journey, then I feel my job is complete.”

For more information about the RELLIS Academic Alliance, visit https://rellis.tamus.edu/academicalliance.

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