MOUNT PLEASANT, Texas (KLTV) - Northeast Texas Community College is allowing their future students to gain scholarships by working throughout the summer.
“You get paid $15 an hour and $7.50 goes to you and $7.50 goes to a scholarship which you can use to buy books, go towards housing if you’re going to live on campus," said Rachel Phillips, a student in the program.
These students are part of the “Work4College” program at the college.
“Apart from normal scholarships, having to work for it adds another layer to it because not only did you actually put in hours to it, it wasn’t just money granted to you like a random scholarship," said Adrian Santieseban, a student in the program. "So, it makes you value it that much more and you’re like ‘oh right I have to use this money smart and not waste it because that means another hour’.”
The students can work in the financial aid office, in the dorms, at Chapel Hill High School or on the campus farm, where early Wednesday morning they had to wrangle a lose cow in the garden.
“Anything we do out here is hands on, it’s just crazy. You may be ankles-deep in cow poop, but you worked for your scholarship," said Claire McCracken, a student in the program. "It may be a little prideful, but it makes you feel happy that hey, I did this by myself and I worked hard to do this.”
The program — which is privately funded by donors — is the only one of its kind at a public community college in the country.
Aside from the work they’re assigned, the students are also required to take a financial literacy class and complete community service.
“You learn a lot of life skills; you learn teamwork, leadership, you learn how to have a real job," said Phillips. "They teach you how to communicate with your supervisor and teammates.”
The program began five years ago with 15 students and has grown to its current roster of 77 students with a waiting list of 57 more.
The director of the program, Jon McCullough, said the interest from students shows how willing they are to work when they’re given the opportunity.
He also said many of the students enrolled in the program have already paid off their first year of college.
For those interested in becoming a student sponsor for the program, there is currently a matching grant that will match up to $1000 per individual who donates.