The Texarkana College Board of Trustees will hold two public hearings on the tax rate for the 2017-2018 year. The 2017-2018 budget will allow for an investment in current program offerings, facility modernization, and technology upgrades to respond to the standards required in today’s educational environment.
“One of our guiding beliefs is that TC’s top priority is to increase the number of people with higher education credentials in our region,” said TC President James Henry Russell. “We consider that a valuable investment in the future of our region.”
Since TC opened its doors 90 years ago, the College has remained the leader in providing valuable skills training for the region’s workforce, has successfully prepared tens of thousands of students to earn college credentials leading to solid career paths and higher degrees, and has fostered continuous learning by providing enrichment courses for citizens of all ages.
Because of its affordability and proximity to students’ homes and families, TC remains the chosen entry point into higher education for the majority of area college-going residents. Close to 2,000 high school students enrolled in TC’s dual credit program last year alone, saving area families almost thirteen million dollars over regular tuition, fees, room, and board rates.
“TC serves close to 10,000 students annually through various programs,” Russell said. “We continually look for ways to work harder for our students to provide the best available value in higher education. Over the past five years, TC has streamlined processes for students, enabling them to complete faster and save money and time.”
According to Russell, those efforts have paid off. In a recent report by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, TC ranked first in student completion rates compared to all other community colleges in the state and the highest of all 2- and 4-year institutions in Northeast Texas.
“Our team has developed pathways for students to help them get in, take the classes they need to graduate, and quickly move on to the workforce or to a university,” said Russell. “This success is a double-edged sword for us. Students are not taking as many classes that don’t count toward their programs of study, which means they’re spending less on tuition. But as long as we’re helping people get the skills and training they need to start their careers, we’re all winning.”
Also driving this success is TC leadership’s commitment to achieving 60x30TX, the Texas higher education strategic plan. The overarching goal of 60x30TX is for 60 percent of Texans ages 25-34 to earn a degree or certificate by the year 2030. In 2015, only 15 percent of Northeast Texans overall possessed a college degree or certificate.
The charge to reach 60 percent will require both the state and its residents to make a conscious investment in higher education.
“We have to make sure our faculty, equipment and facilities are ready for the advanced technologies students are going to find when they enter the workplace,” Russell said. “We work closely with advisory groups from local industries to make sure our curriculum meets their needs as employers. Employer-approved training with current technology will lead more people to earning college degrees or certificates, which will help our area get closer to the 60 percent goal of 60x30TX.”
Russell said community support is necessary for the College to develop and adapt programs to meet local workforce needs.
“The proposed increase will make a huge impact on the College’s budget, but will have a minimal impact on taxpayers’ budgets,” Russell said. “For the average household in Bowie County with an appraised value of about $97,000, we’re looking at a seventy-one cent per month increase. We’re thankful to have Bowie County residents as our supporters and our partners, and we hope they’ll consider this a worthwhile investment and support us in our mission to help the state achieve its 60x30TX goal. We’re working hard to help build a foundation for Texas’ economic future, and we can’t do it without your support.”
TC Trustees will host the first public hearing to discuss the proposed tax rate increase on Aug. 14 at 11:30 a.m. in the Patman Room in TC’s Truman Arnold Student Center at 2500 N. Robison Rd., Texarkana, Texas. The second public hearing will be held on Aug. 21 at 11:30 a.m. in the Patman Room.