Lone Star College partners with consortium to promote Hispanic student success

Lone Star College and Hispanic Educational Technology Services (HETS) have teamed up to enhance Hispanic student success and opportunities in higher education.

“This is a great opportunity for students and faculty to be connected to a wealth of resources to support the pursuit of a variety of  academic and career goals,” said Dr. Alicia-Harvey Smith, LSC executive vice chancellor. “I am excited about this collaboration and am looking forward to hearing many success stories.”

HETS was established in 1993 and is the first bilingual consortium founded by more than 40 higher education institutions in Puerto Rico, United States and Latin America. HETS member institutions are comprised by nearly 25,000 faculty members and serve over 770,000 students, of which approximately 60 percent are Hispanic.

HETS focuses on three strategic areas; access, retention and technology integration. These help promote and advance innovation, leadership and opportunities in Hispanic higher education.

“Lone Star College remains committed to providing high-quality academic and workforce programs,” said Harvey-Smith.

From 2012 to 2017, HETS developed a series of programs and services to continue growing opportunities in Hispanic higher education and further promote leadership and innovation. Through these programs and services, HETS promoted research and key issues in Hispanic higher education; directly impacted student and faculty; fostered ongoing learning and development; and established key partnerships and alliances to further impact education and foster innovation.

Lone Star College is working with Hispanic Educational Technology Services to increase Hispanic student success. Pictured (left to right) are Yubelkys Montalvo, HETS executive director and Dr. Alicia Harvey-Smith, LSC executive vice chancellor.

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Undergraduate research on display Nov. 2 at San Jacinto College

By Jeannie Peng Mansyur

Event will showcase award-winning research from students’ Rice University internships

Undergraduate research on display Nov. 2 at San Jacinto College

PASADENA, Texas – Undergraduate research will be on full display on Nov. 2 at San Jacinto College as three students present their findings and share experiences from their 10-week internships with the Rice University Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering Summer Undergraduate Research Program.

The San Jacinto College Student Research Poster Presentation will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. on the San Jacinto College Central Campus, C-19.123. Dr. Joff Silberg and Dr. Rafael Verduzco from Rice University will serve as keynote speakers. Rice University is also an event sponsor along with the Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment.

San Jacinto College students Muhammad Musa, Sara McAda and Marvin Valverde were three of 12 students selected from across the United States to participate in the Rice University Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering Summer Undergraduate Research Program. As research interns, they were assigned mentors to participate in studies that varied from how drugs affect microscopic worms, to proteins that affect bacteria. They also received a stipend and an option to stay in Rice University housing. In addition to time in the labs, the students participated in research discussions over lunch meetings and seminars to discuss topics related to multi-scale bimolecular networks.

Musa researched the Optimization of Reaction Conditions for Copper-Mediated Modification of Peptides Using Design of Experiment. McAda researched Utilizing Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Cancer Therapeutics. Valverde researched the Characterization of Shewanella oneidensis SO0839 Transcription Factor. Valverde and Musa received Outstanding Poster Awards for their work with the Rice University Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering Summer Undergraduate Research Program.

View a full photo gallery of the San Jacinto College students at Rice University:  https://www.flickr.com/gp/sanjacintocollege/d5t7Ca

Watch a San Jacinto College social media video of the students’ Rice University Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering Summer Undergraduate Research Program: https://www.facebook.com/SanJacintoCollege/videos/10155647206036996/.

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WHARTON COUNTY JUNIOR COLLEGE – IN-HOUSE TALENT

WCJC hosts book signing for authors Spellman and Hudgins

By Zina L. Carter
WHARTON, TEXAS – Wharton County Junior College is hosting a book signing for two of the college’s own authors.

Dr. Paul Spellman, an instructor of history, and WCJC Board of Trustees member Merle Reue Hudgins will be the featured authors at the book signing event, scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, in the Hutchins Memorial Conference Room on the Wharton campus. During the event, both writers will discuss their recent publications and have a number of books available for purchase and for autographs.

A WCJC instructor for 20 years, Spellman is the author of nine books on Texas history and in 2009 was inducted into the Western Writers of America. He is a member of the Texas State Historical Commission, the Texas State Historical Association and the Fort Bend Historic Commission. He holds degrees from Southwestern University, Southern Methodist University, the University of Texas, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and earned his doctorate from the University of Houston.

Spellman will speak on two of his works: Old 300: Gone to Texas and Until I Come Home: Love Letters from the War, 1918-1919. The first book focuses on the 300 families who followed Stephen F. Austin to Texas in the 1820s while the second book reveals true letters a World War I soldier wrote to his wife back home.

Hudgins is a WCJC alumnus and currently serves on the WCJC Board of Trustees. She is a member of the Texas State Historical Commission, the Texas State Historical Association, and is a charter member of the Wharton County Historical Museum and is the longest serving member of the Wharton County Historical Commission. She is a prolific writer and researcher and is widely known throughout Wharton County for her newspaper column, as a video documentarian and as a historical marker writer for the Texas Historical Commission, works which earned her the moniker “Wharton County’s Official Historian” by the Wharton County Commissioners Court.

At the book signing, Hudgins will present her two-volume work, War Between the States Changed Texas Forever – a Study of Pre-Civil War, Civil War & Post-Civil War. Published earlier this year, the hard cover set – spanning some 850 pages – details America’s most tumultuous period. All proceeds from the sale of the books will benefit the Wharton County Historical Commission.

Wharton County Junior College will host a book signing for Dr. Paul Spellman and Merle Hudgins at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, in the Hutchins Memorial Conference Room on the Wharton campus. The public is invited and refreshments will be served.

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Gulf Coast Community Colleges to Host 2nd Women in Industry Conference

Galena Park studentsBuoyed by the success of its 2016 conference, the Community College Petrochemical Initiative (CCPI) will host Women in Industry 2017 on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, at South Shore Harbor Resort in League City.

The one-day event is designed to introduce women to the careers and opportunities available in the petrochemical and industrial skills industries, career fields long dominated by males but now open to women.

Last year’s Women in Industry Conference, the first hosted by CCPI, drew more than 250 interested women. More than 350 women from across the Greater Houston area are expected to attend the 2017 event.

”This conference is geared for all women—those unemployed or underemployed, high school or college students, veterans—who desire a well-paying career,” said Debi Jordan, who chairs CCPI.

“Petrochemical refineries need to replace as much as 40 percent of current employees over the next decade—due to plant expansions and an aging workforce,” Jordan said.  “There are plenty of challenging, well-paying career positions available in the Upper Texas Gulf Coast region—and refineries and contractors are looking for trained women to hire.”

Last year’s attendees included high school students, women seeking challenging and better paying jobs, and women already in the field looking to advance in their career path.

Participants will hear from other women who work in the petrochemical and industrial trades industries, and will have the opportunity to talk with college representatives about enrollment, financial aid, and other training-related issues. Several major employers are also expected to be present.

Corporate sponsors for the event include ExxonMobil, Chevron Phillips, INEOS, Noltex, the East Harris County Manufacturing Association (ECHMA), and Jacobs.

Registration will be available online shortly. To learn more about attending the Women in Industry conference, or to  become a corporate sponsor,  contact Kelly Dando, CCPI grant coordinator, at 281.425.6221, or kdando@lee.edu.

More than 30 Community College Students Receive Scholarships To Pursue Training for Petrochemical Careers

Community College Petrochemical Initiative enters fourth year

ExxonMobil grant of $300,000 to support key training for skilled workers in a growing industry

2016ccpischolars

With the Gulf Coast area petrochemical industry needing more than 50,000 new workers within the decade, nine community colleges have set out to find and train this “next generation” of skilled workers, enabled by a grant from ExxonMobil.

Now in its fourth year, the Community College Petrochemical Initiative has spread the word across the region that typical salaries in this expanding industry average nearly $100,000 and opportunities are available with those who possess the necessary skills.

Representatives from ExxonMobil and all nine partnering colleges met today at ExxonMobil’s main office building in Baytown to present $45,000 in scholarships to 34 selected students.

ExxonMobil Chemical Company Senior Vice President Matt Aguiar congratulated the students and spoke to why ExxonMobil continues to invest in the program. “We continue to see great progress as these colleges educate, train and develop candidates to fill the increasing number of jobs in the petrochemical industry,” Aguiar said. “Because of the ongoing success, I’m proud to announce that ExxonMobil is providing another $300,000 for this important training program.”

ExxonMobil has contributed more than $1.8 million towards training skilled new workers. This is the third consecutive year that the initiative and ExxonMobil have brought together new recipients to present scholarships and encourage them in their educational pursuits.

2016 scholarship recipients include:

  • Alvin Community College: Jaecen Foytik, Andrew Flores, Mandi McLemore, Clarence Johnson
  • Brazosport College: Rigoberto Cardenas, Patrick Haynes, Zackary Nieto, Yolanda Richo, Hong To
  • College of the Mainland: Brandon Abshier, Richard Ahamba, Louis Maldonado, Cristina Tobias
  • Galveston College: Zachary Davis, Jacob Mares, Fabian Urias
  • Houston Community College: Cajetan Nwachukwu
  • Lee College: Ellis Dorrance, Marisela Morales, Camrin Lynn, Gerardo Palominos, Estaban Sanchez
  • Lone Star College: Benjamin A.  Brown, Douglas Bragg, Baleriano V. Perez
  • San Jacinto College: Robert Aquilera, Jose Arias, Veronica Cortes, Victavia Owens, Nghi Nguyen
  • Wharton County Junior College: Al’lon Jones, Carl Jones, Johnathan Klotz, Rocio Salazar Yepez

Tips for Returning to College as an Adult

adultstudentsOne of the best things we see come out of the Community College Petrochemical Initiative (CCPI) and other Texas Gulf Coast Consortium of Community College (TGCCCC) programs is adults returning to school to improve their quality of life. We know there are challenges that come with a return to the classroom when you’re in another stage of life, but we’re also well aware of the rewards and love celebrating them with students every day. If you’re returning to school this coming fall, we invite you to read these tips we’ve put together to help make your experience at a Texas Gulf Coast Community College better.

Find the Right Campus for You

Affordability and proximity to work and home are two factors that often rank high in importance for adults returning to school. We also see students who need services that cater to their nontraditional needs including expanded certificate and degree options and online and evening classes, which you can find on our campuses. In TGCCCC, we have nine colleges offering a variety of certification and degree programs in STEM and petrochemical fields, some with multiple campuses, across the Houston Metro area and Gulf Coast region so you’re never far from the classroom.

Stay on Top of Your College’s Academic Calendar

Once you’ve found the campus and program that fits you, it’s important to begin familiarizing yourself with the campus academic calendar. You’ll want to take a look at the calendar for your first year, and plan on revisiting it every semester until you graduate. Academic calendars contain important dates related to the beginning of your career such as registration, financial aid and scholarship application deadlines. As you progress in your area of study, you’ll want to be aware of deadlines specific to your degree or certification such as applications for graduating and certificate and licensure tests. Write these dates down so you’re prepared to submit paperwork and funds necessary for each deadline.

Guidance and Mentorship

Once you’re enrolled, make sure you take advantage of getting your degree or certification program mapped out by your academic adviser(s). This will help you understand where you are, what your end goal is, and how long it will take to get there based on course load each semester. Take advantage of relationships that you can form with professors and department heads. While many people who work in higher education have full schedules each week, you’ll find they are very willing to take time to mentor you and help you reach your goals.

Create Your Own Study Area

TGCCCC Petrochemical DegreesMuch like if you have a home office for a business, you need to set up your desk or another area in your home to be productive and disciplined for your studies. Find a place where you’re comfortable, the room is well lit, and it is distinguishable as your own workspace. A designated workspace will also help your family, friends and kids understand boundaries and times that you need that space to be for you.

Build a Study Routine

There’s a good reason (and if you’re a parent, you probably know this) that study routines are created for children: they keep them engaged and actually working. While as adults we have a bit more discipline to take care of our daily duties, routines are still helpful for keeping us accountable. Map out your weekly schedule – including classes, work schedule, and family commitments. Schedule dedicated times to study and complete course work. Even if you don’t map out every hour precisely, at least having blocks in your schedule for the major things that occur daily will help ensure that you’re not falling behind.

Ask for Help

Don’t be too proud to ask for help. Even with a thought-out schedule, it’s possible to feel overworked and stretched thin in other areas of your life. Ask for family and friends to assist you with chores and errands when necessary. Ask for encouragement. Reach out to your classmates if you’re missing lecture notes at any point or want to form a study group. Visit with your professors during their office hours if you have questions about assignments, study habits, or a grade you received.

Make Connections

Even as you add on more hours to your day with a school schedule, don’t completely push your social life off to the side. Going back to school at a community college means you’ll probably be in classes with people both younger and older than you, so take advantage of the opportunity to make friends with people you probably wouldn’t be connected with otherwise. Your life will improve academically and socially if you embrace this opportunity.

Balance Work, School, and Life

socialPerspectiveIf all you do is work and never allow any time for some play, you’ll hit periods of burnout and no motivation. Find some time weekly for hobbies or fun time and don’t overfill your schedule. Leave time open for things like going to the gym, spending time with your kids – and sleep. You’ll be a lot more productive in the classroom and be in a better mood daily.

Celebrate Success

Every grade earned, course completed, and award received is another step towards graduation. Don’t wait until you walk across the stage to celebrate. Take time to enjoy the simple things like a movie, sporting event, or concert as rewards along the way for your studies.

Be Flexible

No matter how well you plan for going back to school, life will still continue to happen along the way. Take time at the halfway point or even quarterly each semester to evaluate your schedule, habits and commitments. Remember how we talked about balance earlier? If you feel the scale of your life tipping too far one way, change up your routine to balance it back out. The journey to graduation is a marathon, not a sprint.

Embrace the Opportunity

Yes, there will be challenges as you expand your current schedule to include academic pursuits as an adult. The good news is everyone is afforded the same 24 hours in a day. You just need to know how to use those hours wisely. Yes, you may have to say ‘no’ to some things you were once able to say ‘yes’ to easily, but these are short-term tradeoffs for the financial and lifestyle freedom that you’ll be afforded once you complete your degree.

Women in Industry Conference Turnout Exceeds Expectations


Some 468 area women packed into the North Ballroom of Galveston’s Hotel Galveston on Friday, Feb. 19, eager to learn about careers in the petrochemical and industrial trades industries.

The number far exceeded the expectations of conference planners for this first-ever event.

“It told us there are many capable women interested in well-paying, challenging careers in what were once male-dominated industries,” said Debi Jordan, spokesperson for the Community College Petrochemical Initiative (CCPI), which sponsored the event, along with several major industrial partners.

“Women came to learn about careers as process operators, instrumentation technicians, analytic techs, as well as welders, crane operators, electricians, and other skilled craft positions,” Jordan said. “They have read that industry is looking to hire more women, and they are stepping forward.”

During the morning, participants heard from women already working in the field. In the afternoon, they heard how to prepare for those careers, with information about how to train, network, interview, and succeed on the job.

Galena Park students

Students from Galena Park ISD pose after the Women in Industry Conference outside Hotel Galvez.


NASA’s Ginger Kerrick was the keynote speaker. Kerrick is a Flight Director in the Mission Control Center at the NASA Johnson Space Center, who has, to date, supported 13 International Space Station and five joint shuttle missions.

Her topic, “The Right Stuff,” echoed a major theme of the day-long event: that women with resolve, preparation and perseverance can succeed in any career they pursue.

Sponsors of the event were the area’s nine community colleges and CCPI members: Alvin Community College, Brazosport College, College of the Mainland, Galveston College, Houston Community College, Lee College, Lone Star College, San Jacinto College, and Wharton County Junior College.

Industry sponsors included ExxonMobil, Jacobs, LyondellBasell, Zachry, Chevron Phillips, Covestro, INEOS, Noltex, and Occidental Chemical.

How a 1-Year Certificate Turned into a Dream Job for a San Jacinto College Student

Robin Coto turned a one-year certificate from San Jacinto College into a dream job.

Coto has come a long way in a short time, starting out as a painter’s helper and working his way up to a management position at Penske’s Houston regional collision repair center. The center provides collision repair services for all Penske lease vehicles for the entire Gulf Coast region.

Coto earned an occupational certificate in automotive collision repair technology from San Jacinto College in 2007, and shortly afterwards was hired in an entry-level position at Penske. With technical skills and enthusiasm, he went from painter’s helper to lead painter in a matter of months. He had dreamed of such a job, and he was determined to excel.

“I always enjoyed working with cars and trucks,” Coto commented. “In high school, after painting my first car, I knew at that moment that is what I wanted to do.”

Auto bodywork is a specialized, skilled craft, and Coto knew that to go far would require training.

“I chose San Jacinto College because I had heard their training was top notch and very hands-on,” he said. “Glen Kirkwood, collision repair instructor at the North Campus, interacts well with students and keeps them engaged. He would explain to us students how to do paint and bodywork, but he would not do the work for us. We would have to learn through experience. I think that’s why the program is so successful.”

Coto has been doing vehicle bodywork for 12 years now. He especially likes working as production manager at the Penske collision repair center, which services a wide range of vehicles, from trucks and vans to large 18-wheeler rigs. Kirkwood is proud of the way Coto has applied himself and rapidly advanced.

“What’s really impressive is how Robin has adapted to a different style of bodywork,” he commented. “Our program does not specifically train to do bodywork on larger vehicles like 18-wheelers, which requires working with quite a few different tools and techniques. It shows how our students can excel if they are willing to grow and continue to learn.”

A large percentage of the employees at the Penske collision repair shop are San Jac Certified, having graduated from the San Jacinto College auto collision repair program.

“When possible, I try to hire a San Jac graduate when a new position comes open,” commented Coto. “They are well trained, dedicated, and have enthusiasm. They want to learn new techniques and are eager to keep up with new trends and developments. That’s a good work ethic.”

Coto’s training in auto collision repair has led to other unexpected dividends.

“Some colleagues and I started a used-car sales business,” he said. “We buy cars at auction, I do body repair work and do some body customizing, and we then offer the vehicles for sale. Not long after start-up, the business was turning a profit.”

Graduates of San Jacinto College’s auto collision technology program generally have no problem finding jobs. During the past five years, the job placement rate for graduates has been 90 percent or higher. The pay scale is generally above average compared to other skilled craft jobs. According to the Texas Workforce Commission Texas Cares website, the median annual wage in the Gulf Coast region for auto body technicians is $42,432.

“Considering that a person with only one year of college training can be earning around $42,000 not long after graduation, I think that is very impressive,” commented Eddie Foster, North Campus industrial technology department chair. “That’s as good as some career fields that require four-year college degrees.”

San Jacinto College offers automotive collision repair technology courses and degree options at the North Campus. For more information, please visit sanjac.edu/career/auto-collision-repair.

43 Community College Students Receive Petrochemical Scholarships

With the Gulf Coast area petrochemical industry needing more than 50,000 new workers within the decade, the nine community colleges of TGCCCC have set out to find and train this “next generation” of skilled workers, enabled by a grant from the ExxonMobil Foundation.

Now in its third year, the Community College Petrochemical Initiative (CCPI) has spread the word across the region that salaries in this expanding industry average $99,700.  It’s not surprising that enrollments in training programs are growing significantly.

On Thursday, Aug. 13, representatives from all nine partnering colleges and ExxonMobil met in the Nolan Ryan Center on the Alvin Community College campus to present more than $60,000 in scholarships to 43 selected students.

CCPI Scholarship Recipients

Representatives from nine community colleges and ExxonMobil gathered for a photo with recipients of the 2015 CCPI scholarship in the Nolan Ryan Center in Alvin, Texas, following a luncheon for the recipients.

Students heard a rousing message from the manager of the ExxonMobil Baytown Olefins Plant, Woody Paul, who reminded students that, while their backgrounds and stories may differ, each one is seeking to improve their lives through careers in the petrochemical industry. He applauded their discipline, tenacity, and determination as they juggled career training with family and current jobs.

In all, ExxonMobil has contributed more than $1.5 million towards training skilled new workers. This is the second consecutive year that CCPI and ExxonMobil have brought together new recipients to present scholarships and encourage them in their educational pursuits.

2015 CCPI Scholarship Recipients

From Alvin Community College:

  • Joshua Huerta, Process Technology
  • Matthew Mitchell, Process Technology
  • Shemilore Oguntoye, Process Technology
  • Robert Robinson, Process Technology

From Brazosport College:

  • Mark Morales, Process Technology
  • Hong To, Welding Technology

From College of the Mainland:

  • Christine Guevara, Process Technology
  • Byron Howard, Process Technology
  • Danny Magee, Jr., Process Technology
  • Robert Ware, Mechanical Maintenance Technology

From Galveston College:

  • Frank Ross, Electrical and Electronics Technology
  • Samantha Weber, Electrical and Electronics Technology
  • Angelica Yanez, Electrical and Electronics Technology

From Houston Community College:

  • Samson Akinlade, Engineering
  • Johnathan Barra, Electrician Technology
  • Victor Lopez, Welding Technology
  • Vaibhav Patel, Drafting and Design Technology
  • Binh Pham, Drafting and Design Technology
  • Tuyen Le, Engeineering Technology

From Lee College:

  • Javier Barajas, Instrumentation
  • Blake Bogie, Process Technology
  • Eleazar Cantu, Pipe Design Technology
  • Lawrence Daniel, Process Technology
  • Ellis Dorrance, Instrumentation
  • Marisela Puente, Process Technology
  • Martin Resendez, CADD

From Lone Star College:

  • Justin Cassaro, Automated Manufacturing
  • Said Charouch, Petroleum Data Technology
  • Milton Edwards, Automated Manufacturing
  • Laura Gimenez, Chemical Engineering
  • Stephen Hilliard, Welding Technology
  • Shannon Lee, Petroleum Data Technology

From San Jacinto College:

  • Jonathan Gallo, Instrumentation
  • Gladys Jackson, Process Technology
  • Laura Plazibat, Process Technology
  • Austen Riche, Process Technology

From Wharton County Junior College:

  • Heather Bannert, Process Technology
  • Dillon Baumgarten, Process Technology
  • Brian Hausler, Process Technology
  • Carl Jones, Process Technology
  • Matthew Krenek, Process Technology
  • Willie Walker, Process Technology
  • Dakota Wallace, Process Technology

You Can Afford to Go to College

TGCCCC Petrochemical DegreesEverybody can afford to go to college, now. It’s true! You might have to do some planning, be really smart with your money, and commit to getting good grades so you don’t waste your money. But, Texas community colleges can pave the way for you to earn a degree in just two years that will get you a great salary … at less than the cost of a used economy car.

If you watch or read news, it’s no secret that rising tuition, student debt loans that can take years to pay off, and a questionable economy have made many people scared to pursue higher education. What many people don’t realize about college, though, is that it is not a one-size-fits-all plan. A variety of options exist for students from all walks of life and with differing interests and career goals.

And, in Texas, the economy and population are growing at a rate faster than the rest of the U.S., offering fantastic career prospects in technology, infrastructure, manufacturing, oil and gas/petrochemical, education, and healthcare. Research the jobs being created in your community and see how they compare to your interests, then start thinking about what education you need to get the job you want.

Many students choose the path of a college education at a four-year public or private university and moving away from home. And, those students are often the ones who end up in the dire news stories.

Have a Game Plan
for Your Education

Whether you are soon to be graduating high school or re-entering school to continue your education, there are several things everyone should do to prepare.

For High School Students:

  • Ensure you are in good academic standing with your counselor and on track to graduate.
  • Ensure with your counselor that all necessary Texas Assessment of Knowledge & Skills (TAKS) and State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) testing is complete.
  • Ensure your SAT and/or ACT scores qualify you for college-level work and enrollment.

For Non-High School Graduates:

  • Take the General Education Development (GED) test to qualify for enrollment.
  • Complete College Readiness Standard tests for college-level aptitude in basic subjects.

For many others, a combination of finances, time, work outside of school, and family responsibilities may prevent them from being able to have that “traditional” college experience. At Texas Gulf Coast Community Colleges, we want to break each of these down and help you understand what you will get out of your experience at our campuses and that “traditional” doesn’t always mean better.

Finances

First, we will start with finances by themselves, since they are a critical issue for people who are exploring a college education. At a private university, tuition and fees alone can cost $8,000 to $20,000 each semester. On the other hand, the cost of two years at a public university in Texas could cost upwards of $17,800. Over time this is less than what you would pay at a private university, but doesn’t include books, supplies, and room and board costs for a four-year university education, which come in addition to normal tuition and fees.

At a community college, tuition and fees for school start as low as $820 per semester. In addition to the lower price tag of community colleges, they also offer more financial assistance and flexibility than a four-year university. Many students are even eligible for federal grants covering some or all tuition and fees, grants for which do not need to be paid back. In fact, 35 percent of Texas college students qualify for and receive the federal Pell Grant each year. With these financial aid options, many students are able to complete two years of courses at a community college before transferring to a university, easing the financial burden of paying for school on the way to their bachelor’s degree.

Time

Second, we will address time, work outside of school, and family responsibilities together as one. Community college is a great option for students who must work to pay for school, as well as for older adults who want to further their education. Community colleges offer open enrollment year-round, allowing you to take a flexible number of hours each semester with no penalty, in addition to offering evening and weekend classes. At a community college, it is entirely possible to work fulltime, take classes, and have time with your family each week while still receiving a quality education.

Work

Now that you’ve seen the differences, you’re probably asking “Where can a community college education lead me?”

Graduates with technical certificates and associate degrees are in high demand. You probably did not know that nearly half of all Texas college students – some 700,000 people – enrolled in community college. This number is greater than the state’s public university, private university, and medical institutions combined. Many of these students are pursuing two-year degrees in fields related to the state’s booming energy, medical, and IT industries. A two-year associate degree can qualify you to go to work immediately in the healthcare industry or petrochemical industry, where you can earn $40,000 to $100,000+ annually.

We encourage everyone to choose the path that works best for themselves. At Texas Gulf Coast Community Colleges, we hope you choose to consider the possibilities and make us part of your path. Find out more about registering now to attend your local community college.

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