OC board hears Wrangler Promise data

Odessa College’s Wrangler Promise program has received 1,064 pledges, officials said at an OC Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday.

The Wrangler Promise is a last-dollar-in scholarship that covers the cost of tuition and fees.

Jason Meldrum, associate vice president of Student Services and Enrollment Management, said the pledge period started Jan. 16 and ended April 15.

“We are very excited. Pledging is not necessarily a common thing that high school students do. We worked with several of our regional higher ed partners on our pledge forms students are pledging to go to college or into the military,” Meldrum said.

Director of Wrangler Promise Roxanne Mitchell said Odessa High School pledged 30 percent of their eligible seniors and Permian High School, 46 percent. Eighty-eight (88) percent of OCTECHS students pledged to Wrangler Promise.

Meldrum said students can pledge to multiple campuses. Out of the 1,064 pledges, 788 indicated that their No. 1 choice for continuing on after high school was Odessa College and 198 chose OC as a second choice.

University of Texas Permian Basin came with them to almost every presentation and has been a “fantastic partner.”

Meldrum said UTPB was the first and second choice of a number of students, as well.

“We want to keep in mind that this Promise program, it’s not just a recruitment program. We wanted to increase the go on rate for all of the Permian Basin. We want these students to persist and graduate. We want this to really create generational changes within their families,” Meldrum said.

For the 2024-25 school year, the full Pell grant will be $7,395.

As of February, $665,000 has been awarded in Pell grants to first time in college students at OC for the 2023-24 academic year.

Incoming dual credit students have earned an average 21.5 credits thus only needing 39 additional credits of funding.

The average cost of an associate of arts/associate of science degree is $8,469.

The average cost of an associate of applied science degree is $10,790, Meldrum said.

Vice President for Student Services Kim McKay discussed the Odessa College Wrangler Bucks Campus Dining Dollars that will start in the fall.

The board approved $400,000 to fund it and it will be for full-time students. They will be serving about 4,000 students.

Students typically attend class twice a week.

As they have moved through the pandemic, 45 percent of students said they were food insecure. McKay said this seems to be a statewide problem.

The average percentage for Texas community colleges is 49 percent and there are colleges across the state looking at innovative ideas to address food insecurity, she said.

The board also approved:

>> The appointments of administrative staff and a one-year contract extension for President Gregory Williams. Board Chair Gary Johnson said Williams has a five-year contract and every year it rolls over a year.

No raise was approved.

Johnson said if they give employees a raise, then Williams will get the same percentage of raise that they do.

>> A tax abatement for Matheson Tri-Gas’ air separation plant was approved.

>> Approved a $498,000 bid from Mid-Tex of Midland for a landscaping project at the corner of University Boulevard and Golder Avenue.