AMARILLO- Top rated colleges across the state and here in the Panhandle are turning up what some may call "questionable" graduation rates.
Ask most college students and they'll tell you their major and career goals.
The degree isn't the problem. It's the time it takes for students to earn it that's raising concerns.
"With the struggling economy, our students are having to work multiple jobs so instead of taking 12 or 15 hours a semester, they are taking only 3 or 6 hours so they can support their family and go to school," Amarillo College Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart said.
It's a problem he knows all too well. Often times, students attending two-year junior colleges spend more than that allocated time period working on their core classes before transferring to 4-year university such as WT.
According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, less than a quarter of all incoming freshman attending West Texas A&M graduate with a degree in four years.
Panhandle Workforce Solutions can't stress the importance of education when it comes to the job force, citing statistics showing students with bachelor's degrees make up just over 2-percent of the unemployment rate here in the Panhandle.
Out of 38 public universities in Texas, only two of them have more than 50-percent of their population walk across the stage with a 4-year degree in four years.
The University of Texas in Austin and Texas A&M College Station both made that list.
To help speed up graduation rates, public universities are offering a $1,000 tuition rebate incentive for students who take home degrees within an allocated time frame.
All the student must do is sign a graduation pledge with their academic advisor.
Colleges note that while tuition costs are high, education is key to a well paying job and satisfying career.
Interested in learning more about which career paths pay the most? Visit http://www.lmci.state.tx.us/realitycheck/start.htm for more information.