Nacogdoches officials hope to boost college enrollment among GenTXers

Published: May. 3, 2013 at 8:58 PM CDT|Updated: May. 3, 2013 at 9:00 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Texas isn't doing as well as other large states in the percentage of students entering a Texas college immediately after high school graduation.

According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, about 55 percent of all high school graduates enrolled in a Texas public college or university in 2011.

Today's GenTX Day wants to change the stats and make higher education a natural transition. The idea is promoted in all sorts of ways.

Over 100 people, about half of what was expected, take instructions on how to form GenTX on the Stephen F. Austin State University football field. It's challenging, just as the GenTX mission to building a college-going, career-ready culture across the state.

"We're talking more than just a 4 year institution," said Monique Nunn, the project coordinator for the Deep East Texas P-16 Council/Generation TX. "We're encouraging students to look at technical schools or 2 year certification programs or even shorter certification programs."

Many East Texas school districts are below the state average in college enrollment. Research tells us that over 80 percent of jobs by 2015 will require some post secondary education. That's the message from the Nacogdoches Independent School District's college and career readiness coordinator. Business people doing the hiring agree.

"We look for folks that, you know, have a desire to continue learning and continue growing," Pam Fitch, a Nacogdoches business owner, said.

The GenTX campaign strives for a natural transition from secondary school to higher learning.

"Something that has to do with either literature or art would be a good for me," Alyssa Becnel, an SFA charter student, said.

"I'm actually a psychology major," Timara Tyler, an SFA student, said.  "I'm planning on going to grad school to be a school psychologist."

GenTX has fun with the goals too.

No matter what the university's name may be achieving a college education leads to bragging rights.

"Michelle is graduating in May 18 from the University of Texas with a double major in psychology and sociology," Barbara Holl, a UT fan, said.

GenTX lines students out toward a college education, so when it's over. Their future can go in any directions. GenTX will continue to offer promotions toward a higher education. However the grant runs out this year for this region. Efforts are underway to have it renewed.

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