The Texas Tech University Independent School District is a flexible online educational program that allows K-12 students to earn credits at their own pace.
From Olympians to professional surfers, actresses, models and more, students from around the world are earning their high school diplomas from Texas Tech University Independent School District (TTUISD), a flexible online educational program that allows K-12 students to earn credits at their own pace.
The school is just like any other school, with a superintendent, principal, teachers and counselors. The only difference is that it's online. The Texas Education Agency-accredited program can be completed at anytime, anywhere and there are no enrollment deadlines.
“At the forefront of all we do at TTUISD, following the rigorous standards from the state of Texas ensures the quality of educational curriculum we offer our students,” TTUISD Director Sam Oswald said.
TTUISD offers two tracks for students – a full-time diploma program or an individual course supplemental program – for all grades, along with credit by exams (CBEs), homeschool curriculum and bulk testing services for Texas public school systems.
Since its inception in 1993, TTUISD has grown to serve more than 359,000 students from 63 countries all over the world. Although it's not a brick-and-mortar school, TTUISD meets the same rigorous standards as traditional public schools in Texas.
Even actor Jesse Plemons, who is known for his roles in “Battleship,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Varsity Blues,” “Breaking Bad” and more, graduated from TTUISD while working on his career in Hollywood.
Those who enroll in TTUISD's full-time diploma program will either work toward their high school diploma or take CBEs to supplement their current school or homeschool curriculum.
TTUISD currently offers more than 150 different online and print courses all aligned with the state-mandated Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), which have been determined by the Texas State Board of Education as the important standards of education for students to learn and apply throughout a course.
When students enroll at TTUISD they have six months from the date of enrollment to complete a course, including a final exam. Print courses cannot be completed in less than 60 days, and online courses in less than 30 days.
Students work closely with TTUISD's Texas-certified staff of teachers and advisers to ensure the completion of all requirements needed to earn a diploma. To guarantee success, TTUISD has put in place a credit recovery system so students who have failed past courses can retake them and make up for lost credit.
Although TTUISD differs, regarding when and where schooling takes place, students enrolled in the school, grades 3-12, are still expected to take the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exams. For students in high school, they must pass the five STAAR end-of-course exams before graduating.
Cost of attendance varies depending on what options the students and their families choose, but there is a $120 admission fee and courses are $185 (online) and $210 (print) each.
TTUISD has been nationally recognized for its program in the past few years, including being one of the best online high school programs (No. 4) in the nation by Best College Reviews, a top online school (No. 18) by The Best Online Schools in 2014, and a top online program affiliated with a public university (No. 4) by The Best Online Schools in 2014.
The school prides itself on academic success with students having SAT and ACT scores above the national and state averages and an increasing number of graduates each year. In 2015, TTUISD had its largest graduating class to date with more than 400 graduates worldwide.
The biggest benefit for students is the flexibility and customization of the program. TTUISD makes it possible for students to live and study wherever they choose without being enrolled in a brick-and-mortar school while still having the same opportunities as students in public schools. The program allows students to take the courses needed for themselves and on their own time. TTUISD is able to create customized solutions for students while still meeting the needed requirements for them to earn their high school diploma.
“TTUISD meets the need for quality education with the flexibility of time and place for many families worldwide. Essentially, that's our purpose,” Oswald said.
While TTUISD is different than a traditional public school, students still can experience regular school activities, including that final walk across the stage to get their diplomas. Every spring, TTUISD hosts a graduation for its students at the McKenzie-Merket Alumni Center on the Texas Tech campus.
Students also can take physical education courses, including bowling and tennis.
Although any student around the world can enroll in TTUISD, the program has established partnerships with public schools internationally, including Brazil and China. The collaborations between TTUISD and the schools allow students to participate in a dual-degree program where they can earn a local diploma from their own country and a Texas diploma.
By earning a Texas diploma, international students have the opportunity to enroll in American colleges and universities in a more seamless manner.
In 2014, Texas Tech welcomed its first international students from TTUISD, Bruno Saliba Helmer and Victor Lima Castro dos Santos, who graduated from TTUISD's dual-degree program in Brazil, where now more than 5,200 students are earning two high school diplomas.
Helmer and dos Santos grew up looking forward to studying in the United States, but it wasn't until being enrolled in TTUISD they realized they could earn an American education from home. Now working on his bachelor's degree at Texas Tech, Helmer said he could see a big difference in the quality of education between Brazil and the United States and was excited to have the opportunity to earn his college degree at Texas Tech after graduating from TTUISD.
“TTUISD continues to serve students that have the necessity for a flexible delivery of quality curriculum,” TTUISD Superintendent Jim Taliaferro said. “We strive to enhance our curricular offerings by providing courses designed for online platforms. We currently are developing with Texas Tech, a true dual-credit curriculum that incorporates the rigorous instruction of Texas Tech professors. These courses will be designed for students that possess not only a high degree of self-discipline, but a desire to push themselves toward excellence.”
TTUISD's largest partnerships are in Brazil and China with 54 schools overall, which is a record amount of schools for the program. Since TTUISD began its international partnerships in 2002, more than 1,000 international students have graduated from the program with both local and Texas diplomas.
Currently, TTUISD is working toward creating more partnerships in Europe, Asia and South America.
How to enroll
Those who want to participate in TTUISD's program can enroll online or by calling (800) 692-6877 or (806) 742-7200.
To enroll in the full-time diploma program, students must complete a pre-admission form, submit an unofficial transcript (if applicable) and pay a $120 non-refundable admission fee.
Once accepted to TTUISD, students must receive approval from an academic adviser before enrolling in courses.
Students wanting to enroll in individual/supplemental classes should obtain approval from their local school counselor or principal. Failure to receive approval could cause enrollment delays and/or may result in the student's school not granting credit.
All tuition and fees must be paid in full at the time of enrollment of courses.
Required textbooks and materials are not included in tuition and fees. However, students can order textbooks and materials through various retailers to supply all needed books and materials for TTUISD students.
To see all available courses, visit TTUISD's online course catalog.
For more information about TTUISD and what it has to offer, visit its website or call the main office at (800) 692-6877 or (806) 742-7101.