Wayland planning info meeting for PEP program

Like most other Plainview High graduates, Chad Tibbets was set on leaving town for college. But at the urging of his tennis coach's husband, Tibbets made the choice to give Wayland Baptist University a try.

"I really came with an open mind," he said. "I've lived here eight years and had a lot of preconceived notions about Wayland, but they were all from other students who didn't know much about it either."

Now, as a returning sophomore, Tibbets said he's at home at Wayland, though he still lives with his parents, Mark and Michelle Tibbets, in a garage-turned-apartment. Since he's gotten involved, made several friends and found inspiration from the professors in his major field of biology, he decided WBU was a good place to stay.

"The more I'm here, the more I see that the education here is as high or higher than at a state school. All of my professors but one have their doctorate and they really care about me," he said. "I can ask them for help on a more personal level."

Part of the incentive to attend WBU for at least his first year was Tibbets' participation in the Plainview Education Partnership, a program which provides local graduates the opportunity to attend Wayland with substantial savings for the first year.

For several years now, students like Tibbets have taken advantage of the opportunity to experience college life without going too far from home and save some money in the process. The program is partially funded by the Plainview Area United Way, with the university contributing much of the cost. Both PHS and Plainview Christian Academy graduates are eligible to apply.

"What I like about PEP is that it is a strong reflection of the Wayland - Plainview community partnership, a tangible side of that relationship," said Dr. Claude Lusk, vice president for enrollment management and a key developer of the initial program after then-Chamber president Don Williams presented the idea. "It was designed and continues to be something that provides an opportunity for students to go to college and motivates them to do well in high school."

An informational session about the PEP program and the enrollment criteria will be held Monday, Sept. 16 at 6 p.m. in the Plainview High School cafeteria for students and parents. In general, students must enroll during their junior year and maintain a 2.0 grade point average and a 95 percent attendance record for the remainder of their high school career in order to qualify for the tuition waiver at Wayland.

The deadline to enroll for this year's junior class is Oct. 1. Those anticipating early graduation schedule may want to enroll as sophomores.

For more information, contact the WBU admissions office at 291-3500.