Donation helps expand accessibility of higher education in Texas

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — When a student puts on their cap and gown, they’ve finally reached the finish line. But many who start the race, don’t actually finish.

Scott Noffsinger, a father of three, was one of them.

“They asked me one day, where did you graduate from? And I couldn’t answer that,” said Noffsinger. “So they encouraged me to get my degree.”

He applied and was accepted into the Texas Affordable Baccalaureate (TAB) program, which helps students get their degrees quickly and affordably.

On Thursday, the TAB program received a large donation from AT&T to help it expand to more schools in Texas.

The president of AT&T Texas, along with Texas State Comptroller Glenn Hegar and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Chair Bobby Jenkins announced a $400,000 contribution to the College for All Texans Foundation.

“I was very nervous about it,” said Noffsinger. “But the advisers, I would email the adviser and say ‘I don’t think I can do this’. They would talk me through and encourage me to continue on, and if I really had a problem, they’re there for me.”

Classes are mostly online, and you can make a schedule that meets your needs.

Over the course of 14 months, Noffsinger completed 27 classes and received a bachelor’s degree. He says it cost under $7,000.

“With these kinds of partnerships in place, we feel that we can really move the meter in the state of Texas in terms of ensuring that every qualified student who wishes to attain a baccalaureate degree will have a pathway to do so,” said Dan Jones, President of Texas A&M University-Commerce.

Schools that want to be a part of the TAB Program will be competing for seed funding.

Recently, the state launched 60X30TX–a plan to get 60 percent of Texans age 25-34 to earn a degree or certificate by 2030. Currently, more than 3.1 million Texans in that age rage have some college credit but no degree. The plan aims at making college more affordable and accessible to non-traditional students who may struggle with full-time jobs and tight budgets.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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