THRIVE eases financial stress, enchances college experience


Online Editor

The THRIVE program at Amarillo College is a full-ride scholarship awarded for attendees of AISD schools. It offers several benefits for its students to help create a stress free experience in dealing with tuition and financial aid.

To qualify, students must be enrolled either at Amarillo High, Tascosa, Palo Duro, Caprock or North Heights and graduate with an average of 80 or higher. 

“The folks on the AISD side are responsible for tracking the progress of students while they are still enrolled at an AISD campus,” Bob Austin, vice president of enrollment, said. “In their senior year, they provide us a list of students who meet qualifications for the scholarship while they’re still in high school.”

Austin said that there are three categories of eligible students: Those who have taken dual credit classes in high school, those who have filled out an application their senior year and those who are not yet registered with AC, but who may attend in future. 

“They functionally give us a master list of all those students, and then we go through a tedious process of trying to match their records against ours,” Austin said.

For each student, the monetary amount they receive varies based on the number of credit hours they are taking semester, accommodating their plan and program. A meter, that will eventually appear in AC Connect, is currently being developed to show THRIVE students how much money they have spent. 

“You’ll have a calculator that will show you where you are in relation to burning through your scholarship money,” Austin said.  “Then you’ll know how much longer you have.”

AC THRIVE students said they are appreciative of the opportunity awarded to them. “THRIVE has made things significantly better because I don’t have to worry about finances,” Kylia Lambert, a psychology major, said. 

“I get to just do my classes, focus on that and not have to worry so much about money. I’m very grateful I don’t have to,” she said. 

Some students find that the program even enhances their time at AC. “Well, other than getting the books for free, I’d say THRIVE is what a lot of students need to be able to grow their education experience with college,” Declan Robledo, a theatre arts major, said. “Overall, I think that it has been making college a positive experience.”

The THRIVE scholarship itself is built on a partnership between four organizations, including the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation, Amarillo Area Foundation, Amarillo Independent School District and Amarillo College. 

Each group pays a fifth of the cost, except for Amarillo Area Foundation, which pays two fifths. 

At this time, the program doesn’t include River Road or Canyon schools due to this reason. The scholarship also helps to encourage students and parents to stick with AISD so that they become THRIVE eligible.

“In my opinion, it’s been an incredible blessing for the community and for the families who have been able to take advantage of this opportunity,” Austin said. “Ideally, what it means overtime is that we have more better educated young people than ever before.”

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