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Biden administration moves to protect Alaska wilderness; opening statements and first witness in NY trial; SCOTUS hears Starbucks case, with implications for unions on the line; rural North Carolina town gets pathway to home ownership.

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The Supreme Court weighs cities ability to manage a growing homelessness crisis, anti-Israeli protests spread to college campuses nationwide, and more states consider legislation to ban firearms at voting sites and ballot drop boxes.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

The TX college conundrum: Long-term vs. short-term rewards

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Monday, February 19, 2024   

Texas is making progress in the percentage of individuals who complete higher levels of education, but still lags behind the national average.

College graduates typically earn more and have lower unemployment rates than workers with only a high school diploma.

But increased costs paired with student debt has some parents and students wondering if it's the right path for them.

Journalist Nick Fouriezos covers the role of college in rural America for Open Campus.

"The cost-benefit analysis changes when you have such a higher percentage of a person's eventual earnings being taken up by student loans," said Fouriezos. "There's just no doubt about it, that they have to think in those terms, 'Is this going to pay off for me?' "

According to Lumina Foundation, the national education attainment rate among adults 25 to 64 years old reached just over 54% in 2022 - the most recent year for which data is available.

The Texas rate was 50.5%, with the state working toward a goal of 60% for working-age adults by 2030.

Experts say those debating whether a four-year program, community college, professional certificate program or a trade school makes the most sense should first consider what loans and scholarships are available.

Texas Tribune education reporter Sneha Dey said families she talks to about the issue also weigh the pros and cons of immediate versus delayed advantages.

"They're not just thinking about the tuition that they have to put down, but they're also considering is this pressure that they face to make money right away," said Dey. "So, when you go to college you are also deferring the immediate wages you could be making from these near-minimum wage jobs."

Some U.S. colleges have stepped up to mentor local high school students and are finding other creative ways to engage with their local communities through partnerships and community service.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.




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