East Texas community colleges first choice for many students

By Holley Nees - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Freshman orientation started Tuesday at one East Texas community college, and students were pouring in to register for classes.

There's not usually this many freshman here for orientation at Angelina College.

"In the middle of the summer last year they were averaging 20 or 30 people per these orientation sessions. Now, we're having to close them down because they are getting so large," said Angelina College Director of Admissions and Enrollment Services Jeremy Thomas.

Community colleges across East Texas are seeing the number of freshman go up.

"I know at TJC we're in need of an Allied Health and Nursing building. We just have outgrown our present facility," said Tyler Junior College spokesman Fred Peters.

The Freshman have chosen to start out at a community college because for them, it's a bargain.

Jared Klein thought about going to a major university first, but he's going to wait.

"It's local and it's cheap and it's a good place to get all my core classes done," said college freshman Jared Klein.

"With the economy the way it is, and the cost continuing to rise in higher education, people are staying home out of necessity," Thomas said.

Thomas said the economy has made community college a frontrunner instead fallback choice, and for the freshman they're able to hold onto their jobs and get an education that won't break the bank.

"That was actually a big deciding factor because I do have a job that they demand a lot out of me," said college freshman Kaley Cummins.

Fellow freshman Caurie Cheshire said, "I was going to go to SFA, but at AC I had everything paid for."

"I guess because I wanted to be closer to home and it's cheap," college freshman J'lohnde Douglas said.

"I'm close to my home," said freshman Erin Dickerson.  "I can be with my mom & grandparents. I can live with them and I don't have to worry about rent."

Angelina College said they expect the number of freshman to keep rising as the fall semester gets closer.

The community college said something else that helps is their flexible deadlines, so students have until last minute before registering for classes.

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