Texas Tech president speaks at SHS

Sweetwater High School students were given the opportunity on Monday morning, January 7 to learn about the importance of higher education and more about Texas Tech University during an assembly featuring the interim president of the campus, Dr. Lawrence Schovanec.Dr. Schovanec highlighted two points in his speech: for students to consider the advantages of a college education as well as the possibility of attending the Lubbock school.The first subject allowed students to ponder whether college is the best option following high school. Various factors include being a first-generation college student, the costs of college or the uncertainty of where to attend.A college education brings about freedom, flexibility and fulfillment, said Dr. Schovanec. In 2011, he cited, people with a college degree were more likely to obtain and secure a job with a higher income, as a college graduate can earn around $55,000 compared to $23,000 for a high school graduate. In addition, the unemployment rate stands at 9.4% for those with high school degrees, 4.9% for a person with a college degree, and 2% for someone with a Ph.D. In the past twenty years, the money gap has grown for those with or without a college degree. Dr. Schovanec stressed the fact that tuition is expensive, but scholarship support is available for students at the local, state and federal levels.Furthermore, college brings about a lifetime of increased opportunities. He added that in most cases, it is not important as to what degree is obtained, as college helps a person develop communication and writing skills.As employees are seeking rigorous thinkers and writers, the college experience allows people to become empowered and marketable. Looking ahead, around two-thirds of jobs created in the future will require some college education.The second issue was for students to consider Texas Tech University, a school that boasts a strong work ethic and friendliness. While only about 20% of last year's new students came from a 200-mile radius of Lubbock, the school has a large presence in the state as well as the nation.Recently, Texas Tech became a Tier 1 research institute and is the only one in Texas, thus giving students opportunities for research. This past fall, over 32,000 new students came to the school.In a survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal of Fortune 500 companies, Texas Tech was #18 in the nation in providing the most desirable employees. For schools in the Big 12 conference, they are among the top three in the lowest costs; Texas Tech also lands in the top 30 in the nation of graduates leaving college with the least debt.Dr. Schovanec also urged students to consider living on campus at Texas Tech. Students who live on-campus not only have higher grade point averages, but they also get more involved with the school and graduate at a faster rate.In-dorm tutoring is also available, and students can even live with students who are studying in a similar field. Living on-campus gives a student a great sense of identity while also enjoying the nice facilities offered by the school.In closing, Dr. Schovanec invited students to not only visit the campus, but talk to the students and faculty at Texas Tech. As visitors tour the university, he reiterated that his office has an open-door policy as well.