The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board unveils a new strategic plan. It's out with the old and in with the new. This initiative by the state's higher education agency will replace the previous plan of Closing the Gaps by 2015.
The tall task is to get 60-percent of Texans ages 25-to-34 to attain a certificate or post-secondary degree by 2030.
Samantha Clement is an incoming student at South Plains College. She just moved to West Texas from Detroit.
"The roads are a lot smoother here than they are in Michigan," she said. It is weird not having to dodge potholes." I don't think I'm ready for a dust storm, but I got snow covered though."
Clement isn't alone. Lesly Corral is going to SPC too. She is coming from Perryton.
"Unreal like you always plan it, but it's like oh, it's here now," she said.
They are bonded by a common goal. The two incoming students along with others are ready to start a new journey at South Plains College.
"Just to get my education," Clement said. Of course, as you said it is important, but I really wanted to better myself and be able to create this pathway for myself."
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board also looking toward the future with the vision outlined in a new initiative called 60by30tex.
SPC's Vice-President of Academic Affairs, Robin Satterwhite, said, "The plan fits in perfectly with the state's overall goals of accessibility, affordability success, and quality."
Satterwhite said this plan also fits perfectly with SPC.
"We work extensively with certificate education," he said. We offer over a 100 degrees within our college to meet both the associates and transfer degree and the certificates for the students."
According to a report, in that age group only 38 percent have a secondary degree. Satterwhite said a major challenge is funding.
"Higher education across the state, across the nation continues to rise, and so that is something we are going to have to specifically work on as South Plains College and our partner universities that we work really closely with."
Satterwhite said even though it's a lofty goal, he said it can be met with some help from those in Austin.
"With the right resources and the right commitment from the legislature, I think we can attain it," he said. It is going to be difficult. It is going to be challenging, but I think we can do it."
Satterwhite said SPC has worked hard to be cost-effective. He said that, along with quality, are factors to help meet the board's goal.
Additional goals for 2030 is to also keep undergraduates' student loan debt to 60-percent or less of their first-year wages.