The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Gas Naturally

Gas+Naturally

By Karen Gavis/managing editor

TCC’s natural gas wells have generated more than $8 million in revenue since 2005, and recent Tarrant County high school graduates who want to attend TCC can cash in on a portion of it if they meet certain criteria.

According to documents obtained through an open records request, the total amount of gas well revenue earned including signing bonuses but not including interest is $8,511,116.42.

“So far, what we are using the money for is scholarships for the Stars of Tomorrow,” said TCC associate vice chancellor of finance Nancy Chang. “That’s all we do.”

The program was designed originally to generate scholarships from interest earned, Chang said. But the scholarships have gotten into the fund’s principal because the wells are not as profitable as they once were.

“When the program first started, the interest was a lot better than now,” she said.

District financial aid director Samantha Stalnaker said 955 awards have been given since 2008. And it is expected that the 2012-13 Stars of Tomorrow scholarships will equal or exceed last year’s awards, she said.

Associate vice chancellor of enrollment services David Ximenez said during the 2010-2011 period approximately $148,000 was deducted from the fund’s principal.

“It was primarily because the interest earned from the funds were down,” he said. “It just wasn’t enough to sustain the awards offered to students.”

Former chancellor Leonardo de la Garza wanted the fund to grow enough to ultimately generate full tuition for every Tarrant County graduating senior who applied for the scholarship and met the criteria, former vice chancellor for administration Bill Lace said.

“It was chancellor de la Garza’s decision that all our income from leases and royalties would go into a fund for student scholarships,” he said. “I thought the Stars of Tomorrow was a real good name because I thought of it.”

District paralegal Terri Ford said the funds are invested through the TCC Foundation.

The funds are invested according to the college’s investment policy and is determined by TCC’s board of trustees, TCC executive director of

development Joe McIntosh said.

“We just manage the funds,” he said.

Depending on the number of semester hours a student takes, the program could provide up to $4,000 over six semesters.

To receive a Stars of Tomorrow award, applicants must be Tarrant County residents, apply to TCC and apply for financial aid.

They must also have graduated in the top half of their class or be exempt from Texas Success Initiative (which would include home-schooled students) as well as fall within FAFSA’s income guidelines.

Additionally, the awards are given only to students who enroll at TCC within one year of high school graduation.

Eligibility requirements for continued awards include enrolling for a minimum of six semester hours and maintaining a 2.25 GPA. The application process must be completed by July 1.

A full list of eligibility requirements is available at www.tccd.edu. According to TCC’s website, funding for the Stars of Tomorrow comprises state and federal financial aid, income earned from the leasing of mineral rights and other private sources.

Because of the economy, there have been no new developments in recent years with the wells, said David Hoelke, TCC’s infrastructure, utility and energy director. Gas prices have dropped and new production has slowed considerably.



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