Representatives of Texas State Technical College and Ranger College signed memorandums of understanding with Texas Tech University on Monday in Brownwood that enable students to continue their education after graduation.

 Under the agreement, TSTC students can begin using course credits this fall to pursue a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree at Texas Tech. The agreement covers students at all of TSTC’s 10 campuses.

 Elton Stuckly Jr., TSTC’s executive vice chancellor and chief strategic relations officer, said the partnership provides a great opportunity for TSTC students. He said students moving on to the bachelor’s program can continue to shape their technical and soft skills.

 “Education is what builds a community,” Stuckly said.

 Dr. Melanie Hart, Texas Tech’s vice provost for e-learning and academic partnerships, said having a student body with diverse academic backgrounds is part of the university’s mission. She said the university can reach out to students who do not live close to Lubbock by way of an online presence.

 Sunni Modawell, executive director of the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce, attended the signing ceremony and liked what she heard.

 “This opens the door for endless possibilities for students in the Brownwood area,” she said.

 Rick Denbow, provost of TSTC’s four West Texas campuses, said discussions about the agreement began six months ago.

 At Ranger College, officials signed an articulation agreement with Hart that allows Ranger students to transfer seamlessly to Tech Tech after completing an associate degree.

“Ranger College is committed to working with Texas Tech as well as other four-year institutions to aid our students in progressing toward their academic goals,” Said Dr. Jennifer Kent, vice president of Ranger College.

“We are excited to have partners with us from Texas Tech. A lot of times students with associate degrees get lost. They don’t necessarily go straight to a university. They intend to, but they don’t always end up there, and so it’s articulation agreements like this that will really help them, to make sure that our students get to the next phase in their education."

Kent noted that 53 percent of Ranger College students are high school students taking dual credit classes. Out of 200 Ranger College graduates Friday, 57 of the graduates have not yet “walked the stage of their own high school graduation,” Kent said.

“From this area, there’s a large number that go to Texas Tech every year. This will help to make that more seamless, and we’re proud to be part of it.”