By Gabriel Cervantes, Skyline Contributor
ALPINE- The small west Texas city was graced Sept. 4 with a special visit from the gubernatorial candidate, Beto O’Rourke.
More than 600 people arrived at the Granada Theatre in Alpine armed with questions about the future of higher education and excited to listen to O’Rourke’s proposals.
It’s no secret that the smaller universities in Texas receive dramatically lower financial support than their larger Texas counterparts.
“Now where is that money for Sul Ross? Where is that money for our historically black colleges and universities across Texas?” O’Rourke said.
The money O’Rourke mentions is already present, just not distributed properly, he said. As governor, this would be one of O’Rourke’s top priorities. He seems to understand the lack of priority given to smaller counties like Brewster or Presidio when it comes to higher education. He says that spreading the funds equitably across the universities of Texas will defray the cost of attending college.
College fees begin during the application process, and those alone can be disheartening. Access to financial aid is not enough to get by in higher education, even in a developed country like the United States.
“At a minimum, I want to make sure that the first two years of higher education are available to every Texan without taking on a single dime of debt,” O’Rourke said. In addition to President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, this will make the aspiration of attending a university more realistic to upcoming generations at a time when enrollment is waning. .
O’Rourke’s visit to Alpine is a telling sign of his commitment to look out for the smaller, underserved communities.
Most of modern society believes that higher education is the best way to find a sustainable career. Well-paid trades and other blue-collar jobs are within reach of those who cannot afford college, but those professions also require costly training and lengthy apprenticeships.
O’Rourke made it clear that every citizen in Texas should be accounted for. “If you want to enter a five-year apprentice program to become an electrician, for example, I want to make sure it’s easier to join the IBEW and earn while you learn” O’Rourke said.