LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - College tuition is on the rise in the United States, making it harder for high school students to send in applications.
Another barrier that seems to be preventing seniors from pursuing higher education is the cost of vaccinations such as the meningitis shot. However, some East Texas organizations are taking that burden from students.
Applying for college can be met with frustration and even barriers for some high school seniors, but Michael Simon, the president of Angelina College, knows the importance of students getting a degree
"We believe that higher education is the way to address poverty, to make better citizens in our communities," Simon said.
When he began to hear a barrier stopping students from applying was the cost of a meningitis shot, he knew something had to be done
"This is actually an expense that occurs before they apply for financial aid. It can be one of those steps they might miss," Simon said.
So partnering with the Kiwanis Club and the Pineywoods Foundation, the college announced in a ceremony held on campus that a new program will fund vaccinations for seniors from Lufkin, Nacogdoches, Woden, and Central high schools.
"The Kiwanis Club and the Pineywoods Foundation came forward and we are just really excited to say to these students that's one less obstacle you have to worry about," Simon said.
For one Lufkin high school counselor who said some of her students never thought it would be possible to apply to places like Angelina College, this initiative lets them know they can achieve their dreams .
"It's the most heartwarming thing to see students start to believe that they have a future," said Vickie Evans, a counselor at Lufkin High School.
And with over 40 years of experience, she knows firsthand the things discouraging students from pushing past financial obstacles
"I know some people think well $10 is not that big of deal, but there are so many costs with testing and application fees," Evans said.
As this program lifts the burden of cost from local students, she says the outcome will be priceless
"It brings tears to my eyes to see their hopes and dreams are finally getting to come true and that they see they can do this," Evans said.
To find out how you can apply for the vaccination program, high school seniors can go to their respective counseling offices and apply through school administrators.