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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide for Reeves County, Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas


Mac McKinnon


Monday, Feb. 16, 1998

Financial aid available for college tuition

I recently had the opportunity to visit with a number of
eighth graders, doing interview sessions with them much like
they would if they were looking for a job.

The interviews also dealt with the jobs they hold in Career
Investigation classes. I enjoyed these interviews as it
allowed me to get to know some of these youngsters better.
And, was I ever impressed!

But the main point I want to make dealt with several young
men who plan to go into the miliary once they get out of
high school and then to use military benefits to go on to
college after their service in uniform. That's pretty good
planning for an eighth grader, I thought.

Those plans might or might not work out but I firmly believe
military service is good for young people. I certainly
benefitted from it.

Military benefits provide the only way some people have to
attend college. As we approach graduation time, I want to
emphasize to those graduating that it is time to start
looking for financial help in attending college or trade
school or any other kind of training. All plans need to be
made now, not just for financial help.

This is also the time that various groups around town start
considering applicants for scholarships. Pecos is very
generous in providing a wide assortment of scholarships.

If you are not aware of the costs of college, now is the
time to look into it. I mean this for those who want to go
to college as well as those who are planning to provide

I've touched on this subject before but a number of
scholarships are given in very small amounts. This is not to
criticize as the effort is there to try to reward and
encourage youngsters. It is hoped that if a young person
gets a taste of going to college, the excitement and
challenge, that they'll go on and pursue their education,
finding other help on their own.

However, let me note here that one semester at any state or
community college costs about $1,000. That's just for
tuition and books, not including any room, board or

So you can see that $100 or $200 scholarships don't go very
far. Yes, they can be combined with others and possibly
encourage a student through this recognition to find other
help. However, it can also be a major disappointment to
dangle a carrot in front of a student and have them realize
they might be able to go but just can't get enough help.

By offering one or two larger scholarships rather than five
or 10 smaller ones, most of the scholarships will be used.
Yes, some will be left out and that's unfortunate but it
seems to me that we need to make sure those who can and
should go are given the means to attend college or some
institution of higher learning.

I'm not going to say that all kids need to go to college as
some simply aren't ready and others want to go into careers
that don't require college. It takes a great deal of
maturity to go to college, be on their own away from family
and friends. Many simply don't make it because it is
I don't want to discourage those who don't have the greatest
of grades. Many youngsters bloom when they get to college
after just barely scraping by in high school.

We have a great bunch of young people in Pecos and I want to
encourage them all to get as much education as possible.
There is a lot of help out there that can be found by
visiting as soon as possible with financial aid people at
any college or university.

Mac McKinnon is the Pecos Enterprise Publisher and Editor whose column appears each on Friday, but is replacing Rick Smith's column which appears on Mondays. E-mail him at

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