TEXARKANA, Texas (KSLA) — A small college is receiving big recognition from the state of Texas for its graduation rates.
And Texarkana College leaders say the 7,500 or so students who attend the community college each year are the ones who reap the benefits.
“I think it is good really good. I’ve already seen three classes graduate,” Amber Collum said.
“I’m in my third semester, so I’ll graduate in May.”
She and Justin Smith are culinary students at Texarkana College. Pasta was on the menu Tuesday, but the well-decorated dish wasn’t the only topic of discussion.
“It has taken three years but I took a summer off,” Smith said.
The statewide accountability report released this month by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board shows that Texarkana College, for the sixth consecutive year, ranks in the top percentile among all Texas community colleges for its student graduation rates.
Slightly more than 43% of the school’s full-time students graduate within three years; the state average is 25%, according to report that Texarkana College trustees reviewed Monday.
And among students who complete their studies within four years, the graduation rate at at Texarkana College is 54.5% compared to Texas’s statewide average of 33.2%.
“Our faculty and staff love our students. They take on every student as a project,” said Jason Smith, president of Texarkana College.
The state’s recognition is big for the community college, he added.
And the fast graduation rates help students financially, Smith explained.
“It’s less money that the student is having to spend. And it also keeps them from taking on higher education debt they don’t need; and we are very proud of that, too.”
Justin Smith, the culinary student, said: “You come in and the teachers try to get you up out of here with the best knowledge they can give you in a fast pace.”
The college’s president said community partners also help students make fast progress in completing their education.
“Students are graduating, and 88% of them are immediately going into the job force here locally. And that is because we are designing the program specifically for our region.”