I am pro education. In every aspect of my adult life, I have understood the importance of an education. From serving in Army Intelligence, to Principal of the Brownwood State School and finally the Superintendent of Education for the Texas Youth Commission.

I’ve visited with several of my friends from Howard Payne and I want to share this message. Ranger College is not your competitor. Ranger College is not a threat. When a community supports both a quality four-year University like Howard Payne and an institution like Ranger College, the community flourishes—economically, culturally, and so our K-12 schools flourish as well.

HPU and Ranger cater to entirely different demographics and students. Ranger College fills the gap of those local and regional students, who want to take core basics before going to a four-year school or those who want to learn a new skill or technology to go to the workforce. HPU takes students from across the State and Nation who want to earn a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree requiring a higher level of education.

We are blessed to have both. Howard Payne as a private Baptist University, receives support from other religious organizations from across the country and charges a higher level of tuition.

The Texas Legislature expects Community Colleges to derive their financial backing partly from the state (and that amount gets less every year) and from the local communities they serve. Our school districts in Brown County have an average $1.22/$100 valuation tax rate. Ranger College is asking for $.11/$100 valuation — less than one-tenth what we pay for K-12. By joining Ranger College, our families and students benefit three ways.

Dual credit are college level courses our high school students take while still in school, that transfer to any public school in Texas. The cost goes from the out-of-district rate of $80 per semester hour to $25. Taking college courses while still at home saves parents tens of thousands of dollars in tuition and fees.

Any student from Brown County will now pay 49 percent less in tuition and fees if they attend Ranger College. Out-of-district tuition and fees applied to Brown County residents is $151 per semester credit hour, which drops to $103 per hour. For example, students from Brown County currently pay $524 in tuition and fees for a 3-semester credit hour course while in-district students pay $380 for the same course – a savings of $144 for every 3 SCH course. A full-time student taking 12 SCH, would see a total savings of $556 per semester, more than $1,100 per year.

Pell Grants for High School Students: Ranger College is the only college or university in Texas to be able to offer Pell Grants to high school students. This is a big deal.

Voting Yes for Ranger College is voting YES for Brownwood and Brown County. We pay less in tuition and fees and we can elect our own representatives to the Board. My family and I will be voting for a strong Brownwood — by voting YES to Ranger College.

Bob Contreras