A united effort between local higher education institutions and the Twin Cities Ministerial Alliance brings a message of encouragement for college completion to members of local churches this Sunday. On February 12,  2017, Texarkana College staff members will band together with representatives from University of Arkansas Community College at Hope-Texarkana, and Texas A&M University-Texarkana to take part in “Super Sunday.”

Representatives will visit twelve local churches on Sunday and speak from the pulpit about the difference earning a college credential can make on a person’s life and their family’s future. The unified message is that when it comes to earning potential, you can’t afford not to go to college. Lee Williams, Director of Admissions, Recruitment and the Education Opportunity Center at Texarkana College said studies show that earning a college degree or certificate increases lifetime earnings (Source: Business Insider, Oct. 27, 2014).

“In fact, a person with an associate degree earns 32 percent more over a lifetime compared to a person who has only a high school diploma,” Williams said.  “A person who earns a bachelor’s degree can expect to earn on average $1 million more over a lifetime than a person who has only high school education.”

Williams said that Sunday’s message will help get the word out about the multiple pathways – entry and exit points – that are right here in our community to help a person achieve their higher education goals.

“College can change a person’s life in just one year. It doesn’t have to take years and years in a classroom to start seeing a difference in earning power,” Williams said.  “Specialized technical skills certificates in high demand occupations take less than one year to complete. It is an absolute attainable goal to earn a higher education credential in a field you enjoy in a year or less and find a job making a good wage that fits the needs of your family and your future.”

Two-year associate degrees earned at community colleges or hours earned through dual credit courses while in high school transfer to four-year universities and give students a solid and affordable head start towards a bachelor’s degree. Williams pointed out that the Texarkana community is rich with resources for students wanting to get started on their higher education journey.

“All of our local higher education partners serve as a resource to students,” Williams said. “A recruiter or advisor from any of the three institutions will meet with students individually and help them make a plan toward college completion.”

A new grant program funded by the US Department of Education will open up even more opportunities for low income, first-generation college students in Bowie and Cass Counties in Texas. The Education Opportunity Center housed at Texarkana College helps students navigate through the college admissions, financial aid, and registration process to attend the college of their choice.

“No matter where a student chooses to apply for college, the EOC will help every step of the way,” Williams said. “The goal is to help our community have a greater number of people with higher education credentials and move closer to the Texas Higher Education plan known as 60x30TX- By 2030, at least 60 percent of Texans ages 25-34 will have a certificate or degree.”

Super Sunday in Texarkana helps keep higher education goals top of mind, but the days that follow, Monday and Tuesday–February 13 and 14–will generate more awareness of the college-going culture for our community.

“The next two days will be Super Monday and Tuesday in Texarkana USA,” Williams said. “Students, faculty and staff in all area schools are encouraged to wear their favorite college or university T-shirt or jersey to your school to bring awareness to others about the importance of completing a higher education pathway. This is a fun way to open up dialogues community-wide about the goal of college completion.”

For more information about Super Sunday or the EOC program visit their website.