Students of TCC’s collegiate high schools are on the right path.

Paula Lara/The Collegian

Spring break is only a couple of weeks away. Students of the collegiate high schools throughout TCC will soon reward themselves for the hard work they have put in so far, going the extra mile by getting a high school diploma and college credits at the same time.

At a time when the secretary of education may limit funding to public schools and a president promises an often-fluctuating economic boost that is unlikely to happen, collegiate high school is more important than ever.

Despite the fact that the unemployment rating is at a low 4.8 percent, current students cannot give up. For future students, the time is now.

Even though she has made some troubling statements about funding public K-12 schools, Betsy DeVos has commended community colleges for their early college programs. According to a press release from the Department of Education, DeVos cited that community colleges are helping students earn college credits that are “accessible, faster and more affordable than ever.”

With public education under fire, it’s encouraging to know a quality education is available in TCC’s collegiate high schools.

According to the website Jobs for the Future, the benefits of attending collegiate high school include students gaining skills needed to earn post-secondary credentials with high market value, graduating with a clear path to college and obtaining the education required to have a supporting career with future advancement.

Jobs for the Future states Americans will need a post-secondary credential to thrive in the economy because 68 percent of jobs will require one by 2020. Nowadays, 21 percent of college students earn their degree within six years. These numbers are particularly low among students of low-income families, color and first-generation college students.

Collegiate high schools provide a gateway for students who want more, students who are tired of struggling along with their parents and students who want to succeed in the competitive workforce.

After collegiate high school, 71 percent of students go on to register into a college versus the national average of 68 percent. According to South’s Collegiate High School website, students can graduate from high school and earn up to 60 college credits simultaneously, earning an associate degree in the process. Ninety percent of students will graduate versus the 78 percent of students who graduate from public high school.

Students who graduate from early college high schools are practically guaranteed to start a career in the technical field, such as nursing or firefighting. With a job market that leans toward younger employment, students must take advantage of this opportunity. A technical career is great, but it does not have to stop there.

For example, Rachelle Wanser, the 2015 valedictorian of the Texas Academy of Biomedical Sciences, earned her associate degree from TCC and her diploma along with a full scholarship to Johns Hopkins University. She is the first in her family to attend a four-year college.

We no longer live in an era where jobs are readily available, and scholarships are hard to come by. Students cannot settle for mediocrity. Students attending collegiate high school today are on the right path to having a successful career.