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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