The Coordinated Admission Program (CAP) used under the UT school system provides a unique opportunity for freshman students; they are able to complete their first year at a sister school (such as UTSA) and transfer the following year, assuming students meet the academic requirements. The problem with this system is that it negatively affects student retention rates at the universities that utilize it, dropping the number by an average of four percentage points. UTSA should drop the CAP program, because the program creates a stop-gap culture that hurts the university.
While all students determine the direction of a school’s culture, freshmen are in the precarious situation of either maintaining or changing the status quo. CAP students are no exception to this. When it comes to those who choose to live on campus, the effects can be seen throughout school functions. For example, resident advisors in dormitories are responsible for creating a sense of community among students in housing areas, but when students are hell-bent on doing “their time” instead of making a meaningful connection to the campus, a feeling of apathy arises. When the campus’ status quo is placid, there is nothing to hold on to.
This apathy transfers over to sectors outside of the school. UTSA boasts 31,000 students, yet the student sections at athletic events feel devoid. Even though football attendance at UT has decreased in recent years, the Longhorns still maintain higher percentages of students at their games compared to UTSA. Student engagement in general at UTSA feels detached; school pride and culture comes across as an afterthought rather than a priority.
CAP students are not the root cause of a stagnant culture and there is nothing wrong with seeking an education at a different university. Some CAP students even end up choosing to finish their degree at UTSA. However, the fact that our campus is used as a stop-gap is something that should not be celebrated. UTSA deserves to have a student body that wants to be here; this institution is young and growing. If it wants to make the leap from an emerging commuter campus to a full-fledged research university, it needs a dedicated student body: One that creates and maintains an active college culture. Eliminating the CAP system would be the first step in this process.