Could 4 Year Degrees Come To Amarillo College?
I am a huge fan of the Junior College system, When I was in my school days getting that degree and then transferring on saved me a lot money. For many of us the local community college was that gateway. Governor Greg Abbott has now taken that to the next step by allowing Community and Junior Colleges the ability to offer 4 year degrees which could save thousands of dollars and allow more opportunities for those who may not have otherwise had a chance to go to college.
Here in Amarillo we have Amarillo College which itself is one of the best programs in the nation and has constantly won awards for value, curriculum and instruction. The college recently got a large gift of $15 million dollars from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. The benefits in Amarillo College offering a 4 year degree would be incredible for a few different reasons.
It stops the Brain Drain
Often times the main reason students leave Amarillo after high school is there is simply no higher education opportunities in town. I know what you're thinking here, "Mike, WT is right down the road broseph!" I hear you, but that's in Canyon. It's only a quick hop skip and jump down the Canyon E-Way, but not everyone has transportation and there's really no good public system connecting Amarillo and Canyon. and WT does come with a higher price tag which prices out lower income students. The pell grant system and scholarships help but theres only so much to go around.
For students who do have the means, It gives an opportunity to start in Amarillo and see if the experience is worth it and either move on to a bigger school if they choose like WT or Tech, UT or... what's that school in College Station again? Just Kidding, Gig 'Em.
It's Easier On the Wallet
Amarillo College offers a good value for the money. My days in Austin proved to be not only hard on the mind but hard on the pocket book too. Some of my textbooks cost as much as courses I took at El Paso Community College back in the day. The more bare bones approach keeps cost low
No word out of Amarillo College on the future but there's no doubt they are looking at potential here. a quick check of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation site shows that they are still a level I school focusing on associates degrees.