Angelina College enrollment spike in-line with Obama education initiative

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Shortly after taking office, President Obama set a goal for the U.S. to lead the world in the proportion of college graduates by 2020. Currently, the nation ranks 16th with the percentage of young adults obtaining a college degree. Locally, Angelina College officials have experienced a rise in enrollment this summer, which they say is a good sign.

For the second time in Angelina College's history, summer enrollment has reached a record high. More than one thousand students invested in their education by taking classes this summer.

"Community college serves a number of people, people of all ages, younger students, older students. So, the fact that all these people are coming here this summer and looking forward to coming in the fall is a good sign for our area," said Angelina College President, Larry Phillips.

Now, more than ever, schools and educators are stressing the importance of receiving a degree. Marketing and Development Coordinator, Gary Stallard, says this summer the college started a new initiative. Recently, they began seeking out students who started on a degree but never finished.

"We just really saw a large number. I mean, it really stands out when you see the number of students who, for whatever reason,they just didn't finish," said Stallard.

Stallard says having a college degree does open doors and affords adults opportunities that they otherwise wouldn't have.

"The way the economy is, like I said, employers are more selective now. They can go through a list and look at who's the most qualified. And, those degrees stand out," said Stallard.

Nationally, the percentage of young adults receiving a college degree increased slightly, according to AP. However, research shows the U.S. is still well behind on President Obama's goal of having the nation lead the world in the proportion of college graduates by 2020. Phillips says Angelina College is doing everything in its power to make this goal a reality for East Texans.

"The main mission of a community college is to always increase access and get more people involved in higher education and post-secondary training," said Phillips.

Stallard says the college is looking into offering tuition incentives for those students who started their degree but never finished it. President Obama has also called every American to commit to at least one year of higher education or career training.

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