AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Amarillo College along with West Texas A&M University are working to help ease the transition between high school and college.
Recent studies show students from rural areas are less likely to attend college in comparison to their suburban counterparts.
The obstacles don't end there.
Another study by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found disparities even among rural communities.
Students at low-income rural schools are less likely to attend college than their peers at high-income rural schools.
Ernesto Olmos, Director of Advising for Amarillo College, said the solution is to give students the help they need early on.
"It's very important that we come to the students first. One of our initiatives is that we increase not only enrollment but retention, and so, that first step is introduction," he said.
Olmos said it's important for students to know what resources are available to them.
"If internally we can't assist the students, we find ways to find community help," said Olmos. "Our goal is to make sure that we break down any barriers so that students do persist and we get them graduated or we get them transferred and to their ultimate goal."
This fall, West Texas A&M University will begin offering a doctoral program specifically designed to create graduates who can reinvigorate rural schools.
The program will focus on leadership and management of of small school systems like those that exist throughout the Texas Panhandle.