BUDGET CUT FOR TAMS
* Is it true that TAMS’ budget was cut?
Yes, the last Texas legislative session reduced line items in general, and TAMS receives direct funding from the state as a line item. The reduction was of nearly $1M (or about 15% of the budget). In the previous cycle, the state line was just short of 1.9M.
* Is TAMS able to receive funds from private sources? Does it reject corporate sponsors’ money?
Over the years, TAMS has always received donations from a variety of sources, including corporate – that has not changed. Historically, these amounts funded small initiatives and scholarships, but the amounts have never been sufficient to build a significant endowment. An endowment with enough earnings to provide many scholarships could mitigate the impact of fluctuations in funding by the legislature in the future. Individuals can give to TAMS online (https://one.unt.edu/giving/texas-academy-of-mathematics-science), and can get further information about other opportunities from Development Director Alan Thornton (firstname.lastname@example.org).
* How is TAMS going to be funded moving forward?
UNT is covering the budget deficit this year, but in the future, families who can afford it will pay more than they do now. Families who cannot afford it will continue to have their demonstrated needs met through needs-based scholarships.
* Will students still receive a standard scholarship covering fees, tuition, and books?
Students will still receive a generous scholarship ($9,500 per year) which can be used towards fees and tuition. Books will continue to be provided by TAMS. Additionally, generous scholarships will be available covering demonstrated needs, determined using the FAFSA.
* What is the program charge for the class of 2020?
The class of 2020 (entering in 2018) will have an annual program charge of $2,500, which is part of the cost of attendance
* What is the maximum financial aid a student may receive?
Besides the generous standard scholarships our students receive, they may receive further aid up to the total cost of attendance (which includes fees, tuition, books, program charge, room and board, transportation, and other incidental costs). Students with high-needs may end up with no out-of-pocket expenses.
EXPANSION & NEW TRACKS
* Is it true that TAMS is considering an expansion?
Yes, TAMS is considering an expansion of 45-60 students.
* Is TAMS considering tracks including the arts?
Yes, we are considering tracks in music, visual arts and design, and media arts. Those tracks are not meant to be “non-STEM tracks;” the curriculum will continue to have a rigorous advanced STEM core, with part of the curriculum associated with select areas of art.
* Has the dean stated that “there will be a full transition from STEM to STEAM?”
No. The dean’s communication in all settings have referred to exploring arts tracks, where students still need to fulfill strong STEM requirements, as described above.
* Will TAMS consider an enhanced track in engineering as well?
Yes. TAMS added a Computer Science (CS) track two years ago to help students with engineering and technology interests to better prepare for a future in those fields. It will further explore the possibility of enhancing the opportunities for engineering majors (a track with specific courses).
* Will TAMS stop being a STEM academy?
No, TAMS is committed to a rigorous advanced STEM core in the curriculum for all tracks. Students with multiple interests and talents will also be better able to take courses aligned with those interests.
*Will TAMS change its name?
There is no desire within TAMS to change names. “TAMS" reflects our identity quite well. The new tracks also fit our identity and focus, since students in all tracks will continue to take rigorous and advanced STEM courses.
* Will it be easier for artists to get into TAMS than other students?
The basic standard for admission in TAMS will not change. Nevertheless, students interested in tracks associated with the arts also need to demonstrate interest and aptitude in the relevant arts.
* Why is TAMS considering these particular tracks?
The broad market is now replete with examples of innovative and creative thinking taking advantage of both STEM and artistic modes of thinking, simultaneously, especially in the tech industry. We want to equip our students to make contributions at the interface of arts and STEM (e.g. gaming, aeronautics design, music technology, etc).
* Will students interested in the arts have to be committed to pursue STEM as well?
TAMS always assessed competence and interest in STEM for admission purposes, but never required a long-term commitment to a specific career. We have always encouraged students to explore their interests and look for fit. Although the majority of our students pursue STEM degrees and careers, many alumni are successful in an array of fields including law, business, journalism, entertainment, marketing, etc. All TAMS students will continue to have the same opportunity to explore and pursue their own interests, but will do so with a strong STEM foundation.