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Red River Promise scholarships help students reach life goals

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 11:06 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Educators across north Texas are teaming up to make sure students have an opportunity for higher education from the moment they step foot in high school until they earn their bachelor’s degrees.

The Red River Promise Program is bringing together 13 school districts and seven universities, and it’s being led by North Central Texas College. Administrators gathered at the NCTC Gainesville campus on Tuesday night to launch the program and make their pledge to students.

“College just didn’t seem like an option for me. I, like so many, have worked part-time jobs throughout high school,” said Kelsey Eldridge, Red River Scholarship pledge.

Eldrige, who attends Muenster High School, is the first student to pledge to be a part of the program. She will be the first in her family to earn a college degree and with it, she plans to become a radiologist.

“It makes me feel kind of special because I’m able to brag about it to my sisters, but it’s just about me getting to where I want to be in the future,” said Eldridge.

“We have dedicated $4 million as a college toward this process to get it started. Now in that process, we’ve got a lot of money to raise, we need to raise about $25 million over the next five to seven years to make this a sustainable, long-lasting commitment,” said Chancellor Brent Wallace, North Central Texas College.

The college will be working with over 800 seniors going to high school in rural districts.

“We’re rural, we’re pretty much situated between Wichita Falls and Denton, so I think to give opportunities to students who maybe previously hadn’t thought about going to college or maybe thought it wasn’t an option for them, it’s a major priority for our students,” said Blake Enlow, superintendent of Bowie ISD.

“Students will realize that a four-year degree or a two-year degree is attainable and affordable. All of the four-year universities that are connected to this want to see students get a degree,” said Fred Dietz, VP for enrollment management at Midwestern State University.

Unlike most scholarships, this program will meet students where they are not only financially but also academically by providing free tuition, support, and resources every step of the way.

“For example, if you are a student in Bowie Independent School District and you commit to the Red River Promise Program as a freshman, met the criteria once you graduate high school, then we guarantee you that after Pell eligibility and after NCTC scholarship, whatever remains in tuition would be paid by the Red River Promise,” said Wallace.

Grades 9-12 can apply for the Red River Promise Program, and students that are graduating this year will be able to use funds for their fall freshman semester at any one of the eight participating universities:

  • Southeastern Oklahoma State University
  • Texas A&M University-Commerce
  • Texas Women’s University
  • Midwestern State University
  • The University of Texas at Arlington
  • The University of North Texas at Dallas
  • West Texas A&M University

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