Texas leveraging AI to help close education information gaps

In a recent interview with The 19th, Texas 2036 CEO Margaret Spellings expressed optimism about the future of education despite the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic, noting that we are seeing adaptation and innovation in ways that we haven’t witnessed for decades. One example of that innovation is a new public-private partnership announced today by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The new initiative leverages artificial intelligence (AI) in a conversational chatbot developed by AdmitHub to offer proactive, personalized guidance to students as they navigate their way to and through college. The AI chatbot can communicate with students 24-hours-a-day via text message, and if students need additional support, directs them to live advisers who are trained and funded through a partnership with the College Advising Corps.

“We’ve talked for years about the role AI can play to augment the work of guidance counselors, who are often limited in the time and resources necessary to provide tailored guidance to all students as they navigate their many options,” said Texas 2036’s Director of Policy, John Hryhorchuk. “This is an intriguing step toward closing student information gaps and creating more equitable pathways toward living wage opportunities.”

While the COVID pandemic has exposed long-term systemic challenges in our education system, it has also sparked the types of innovation and investment – like this new initiative of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board – that will not only address immediate needs, but can improve outcomes for all Texans over the long-term.