Informational meeting about PEP planned for high school students

Release Date: September 4, 2009

PLAINVIEW – In today’s economy, having a college education is valuable, increasing an individual’s lifetime earning potential by more than $1 million over those without degrees.

So that should mean the Plainview Education Partnership is a priceless investment for local students and parents who take advantage of the opportunity to pursue their first year of studies at Wayland Baptist University tuition-free.

The fall sign-up period for this unique program, an agency of the Plainview Area United Way, begins soon with an information session planned for Monday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. in the Plainview High School auditorium. The deadline for juniors to enroll is Oct. 16, 2009.

The session will provide all the pertinent information for parents and students about PEP and the enrollment contract, which does not obligate students to attend Wayland but only gives them the option for that first year. Requirements are simple: maintain 95 percent attendance and a B average for the junior and senior school years. The program is open to juniors at Plainview High, Plainview Christian Academy and homeschoolers who live in Plainview.

“(The meeting) is critical for families to get all the details down and to understand what a gift this is,” said Debbie Stennett, director of admissions at Wayland. “I think sometimes because we are in the backyards of these students and they have been on our campus on and off since elementary school, this is not often their first option.

“But the courses they would take here that first term are likely the very same courses that they would be required to take anywhere else. The only difference is that here they don’t have to pay for them.”

By 2009 standards, families could save $11,850 in tuition by sending their child to Wayland under PEP for the first year (calculated at 15 semester hours per term for two terms). That’s 30 hours of college credit for only a small amount of fees if the student elects to live at home that first year.

Stennett said she sees Plainview students enroll every year who regret not having completed the PEP contract and have to pay the same price as any other students. She encourages all families to at least complete the agreement as an option and points out that the “free year” is only available in the year immediately following a student’s graduation.

D’Anna Kellum, a junior early childhood education major from Plainview, is glad she took advantage of the PEP signup, following in the footsteps of her older brother Dean in attending WBU.

“PEP was important to me because I wanted to save money, but I didn’t realize how much I loved Plainview until I stayed my first year and I couldn’t even imagine leaving it,” said Kellum, who is a President’s Ambassador this year. “I haven’t had to take out any loans so far, and I work and pay for my school as well.”

Besides the financial benefits, Kellum said PEP gave her a chance to enter a world with which she was unfamiliar and find her place where she might not have imagined it.

“I really didn’t know a whole lot about Wayland before I came here. Since I’ve been here, I’ve made tons of friends. I have a wonderful circle of friends, the kind that I’ve longed for my whole life,” she said. “Staying at my home church has been wonderful for me as well. I have grown so much, and I don’t think I would have been able to do that if I’d moved to a different town and a new church.”