Sponsored Projects

Our Work

UEI’s ability to conduct rigorous and actionable research starts with listening to our educators. It continues by keeping our local education stakeholders involved in discussions about the research as it unfolds. 

We aim to build a body of coherent research that builds upon itself over time using different methods and data.

We believe meaningful change in education practices and policies requires a steady drip of research, with each study penetrating more deeply a community’s beliefs.

We also believe a combination of research designs, methods, and data are best at getting closer to the objective truth. 



This study represents the inaugural effort to assess the effectiveness of the ADVi program in students’ postsecondary success. As a pioneer in this research endeavor, we employ a mixed-methods research design to explore overarching questions related to the extent of ADVi utilization and understanding the perspectives and experiences of various stakeholders with the ADVi tool.

Integrating a Social-Emotional Wellness Coach in a School Setting to Promote the Prevention and Early Identification of Mental Health Issues in Youth: Evidence from Two High Schools in San Antonio

Schools are becoming increasingly involved in helping youth improve their social and emotional competence. Basecampus, a collaboration of three nonprofits, offers mental health education and support for youth at two San Antonio high schools. It provides non-mental health professionals with the tools, resources, and self-care support they need to confidently manage the prevention and early identification of mental health issues in youth.

The purpose of this study is to investigate whether the Basecampus program had a positive impact on the mental health of school staff. Specifically, the study aims to assess if the program has reduced their stress levels, influenced their decision to stay in their job, and increased their confidence in identifying and responding to mental health issues in young people during the 2022-2023 school year.

ADVi the Virtual Advisor

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s (THECB) Virtual Advising Project reaches students with critical, timely information needed to meet key college and career milestones. The project aims to help more Texans access higher education and complete their credentials at Texas colleges and universities. The tool, called ADVi, short for “advisor,” is a text-based, artificially intelligent chatbot that sends text messages about college-going information and action steps and responds to incoming questions from users.

This report provides key findings, including feedback from ADVi student users, college advisors working with high school students, and program developers and staff at THECB. This conversation focused on in-depth perspectives of the past, current, and future implementation of ADVi.

High-Quality Pre- and Educational Achievement in Elementary School: Evidence from Pre-K 4 SA
This report examines the educational effect of attending Pre-K4 SA, a distinguished public pre-
Kindergarten (pre-K) program in San Antonio, in comparison to other local public pre-K programs.
Building upon the UI's initial assessment, this report incorporates two additional pre-K cohorts and
extends the analysis of prospective outcomes up to fifth grade.
BaseCampus Mental Health Findings

Basecampus is a collaborative project between the H. E. Butt Foundation, Clarity Child Guidance Center, and Communities in Schools of San Antonio, which offers mental health education and support for youth at two San Antonio high schools. It provides non-mental health professionals with the tools, resources, and self-care support they need to confidently manage the prevention and early identification of mental health issues in youth.

This report answers three main questions: 

  • Why did some teachers participate more or less in Basecampus activities?
  • How capable are school professionals at recognizing and responding to the mental health challenges of their students?
  • How capable are school professionals in caring for their own mental health needs?
ADVi Implementation Study

In response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic on higher education access, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) introduced the Virtual Advising Project (ADVi), featuring an AI chatbot named ADVi. This initiative aims to provide critical and timely information for students' postsecondary journeys, assisting more Texans in accessing higher education through text-based guidance and connecting them to professional college advisors as needed.

This report provides findings from the project’s first and second wave of student interviews, which focused on getting feedback from ADVi student users about their user experience, their understanding of the college-going process, and access to resources outside of ADVi. It also provides findings from focus group interviews held with ADVi advisors to understand the strengths and challenges of implementation and identify areas of improvement.

A Correlational Study of Educational Attainment, Industry, & Earnings
This study aims to explore the relationship between formal education and wages. It also investigates
the presence of inequitable wage gaps within demographic subgroups and seeks to identify variations
in wages associated with individuals' level of educational attainment and field of study.
Public Pre-K Supply & Demand in Bexar County
This study is part of a larger ongoing effort to identify San Antonio's progress in expanding access to
high-quality pre-Kindergarten (pre-k) throughout the larger San Antonio community. In this
inaugural study, researchers investigated five major questions: (1) Have more children enrolled in
public pre-k in Bexar County?; (2) Has there been growth in the share of Bexar County children who
enrolled in free public pre-k relative to those who were eligible?; (3) What effort has been made to
increase access to public pre-k by Bexar County school districts and charter schools?: (4) Have more
children enrolled in high-quality public pre-k?; and (5)To which school system do students of Pre-K
4 SA matriculate?
Bexar County College Readiness/Enrollment Patterns
This report has two research objectives:
Objective 1. Produce a statistical profile of four groups of Bexar County high school graduates: (1) all graduates; (2) graduates who were eligible for guaranteed admission into UTSA; (3) graduates who directly enrolled in UTSA after high school; and (4) graduates who were eligible for UTSA’s guaranteed admissions but instead enrolled in a two-year college and not a four-year college in their first year following high school.
Objective 2. Estimate a model that predicts postsecondary enrollment patterns of Bexar County high school graduates during the first four years after high school as a function of five mutually exclusive, postsecondary events: (1) enrollment in UTSA, (2) enrollment in a four-year college other than UTSA, (3) enrollment in a two-year college only, (4) employment and no college enrollment, or (5) no participation in employment, education, or training (NEET).
Impact Study: San Antonio Area Foundation Scholarship

The San Antonio Area Foundation (SAAF), the city’s key community-giving organization established nearly 60 years ago, serves as the city's hub for connecting donors to meaningful causes. In addition to distributing grants from permanent charitable endowments, the foundation has been awarding higher education scholarships since 1969, totaling over $37 million to students pursuing their educational goals. This study evaluates the effectiveness of SAAF’s higher education scholarship programs on college enrollment and degree completion and its potential to alleviate common barriers like student debt and the need to work while in college.

School Mobility Report

Each time children change schools, they leave behind friends and must adapt to a new environment. This new environment may include not only a new school, but also a new home, a new neighborhood, a new part of town, and, potentially, a new family arrangement. In this transition, there are many changes and effects that determine if the move causes overall benefit or harm to a student’s educational achievement.

This study aims to enhance knowledge regarding the negative consequences of students' nonstructural mobility. It employs a mixed-methods approach to explore three main research questions: (1) the likelihood of public school students experiencing nonstructural school mobility, (2) the demographics of students most susceptible to this mobility, and (3) the reasons and mechanisms behind school mobility for students with the highest rates of nonstructural school mobility.

Impact Study: Goodwill San Antonio

In 2018, of the largest 25 metro areas, San Antonio had the topmost percent of residents living in poverty—about one in five. Nearly half of those living in poverty were employed, but nearly all struggled to afford housing and nutrition for themselves and their children. To reduce the number of people living in poverty, Goodwill San Antonio has focused on helping those facing the most difficult circumstances acquire marketable skills through its Good Careers Academy (GCA) program. This study evaluates GCA’s effectiveness in increasing employment and earnings. It compares the change in employment rates and earnings of GCA students to students with similar demographics and prior educational and employment experiences using the state’s longitudinal education and workforce data.

Impact Study: BHFSA

San Antonio serves as a national and regional hub for healthcare. The healthcare sector employs one of every six workers in the San Antonio Metropolitan Statistical Area). Despite the advanced development of healthcare in the greater San Antonio region, this field experiences one of the most significant skills gaps -- demand for skilled workers exceeds supply. The Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio (Foundation) has long recognized the importance of addressing this skills gap.  Since 2005, the Foundation has provided grant awards to residents of Bexar County and its contiguous counties with the goal of training “tomorrow’s healthcare providers and leaders.”

This report evaluates the effectiveness of the foundation’s scholarship programs by answering two questions:

  1. Does the scholarship program cause an increase in the number of students earning a postsecondary degree in a major field of study related to healthcare?
  2. Does the scholarship program cause an increase in the number of San Antonio area postsecondary graduates entering the San Antonio health sector?
Impact Study: Pre-K 4 SA
This report presents the inaugural impact study of San Antonio's Pre-K4 SA initiative, established in
2012 through a voter-approved one-eighth cent sales tax. The initiative aimed to enhance
prekindergarten (pre-K) access by creating four pre-K lab schools, professional development for
early education instructors, and grants for school districts. The study analyzes the initiative's impact
on Bear County's pre-K enrollment and evaluates its influence on early education outcomes for
students in its lab schools. The analysis focuses on students enrolled in Pre-K 4 SA during the 2013-
2014 academic year, utilizing inverse propensity weighting to address selection bias and establish a
comparable base group from the same Bear County elementary schools.
Impact Study: San Antonio Education Partnership College-Advising & Scholarship Program
This report assesses the impact of the San Antonio Education Partnership (SAEP) College-Advising
& Scholarship Program on high school graduation, postsecondary enrollment, and completion rates
for students graduating between 2003 and 2013. Using Inverse Propensity Score Weighting to
control for selection bias, the study compares SAEP recipients to a similar group sharing
demographics and academic records. The analysis also explores variations in program impact among
student subgroups and institutions.