Greater Texas Foundation


Board of Directors


  Rural Collaborations
Two-thirds of the 254 counties comprising Texas are classified as rural. Our vast rural regions contribute a wide variety of resources and strengths to the state. One challenge common to many rural areas, however, is limited opportunity for postsecondary education. The small size of most rural school districts makes it difficult to offer college preparatory and dual credit coursework, and the significant distance between rural communities and institutions of higher education puts students at a disadvantage when it comes to postsecondary planning, enrollment, and persistence.
Despite these barriers, there is significant potential for collaboration and innovation in these communities. That’s why we’re investing in Rural Collaborations—initiatives that connect stakeholders from multiple educational institutions and sectors to harness their collective wisdom and resources in service of students. Through this work, we expect to see more rural students receive the academic resources, guidance, and support they need to access, persist in, and complete a postsecondary credential.

Dig Into the Data
With the help of Education First and other partners in the field, we explored current data on Texas students to develop our strategy. Below are some of the findings we found most compelling.

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Voices from the Field
The Education First team conducted interviews with stakeholders across the state to deepen and contextualize our understanding of Texas students' experiences. Here are some of their insights.

“Geography is hard here. There are districts that are miles from colleges and have one math and one science teacher in the high school trying to teach every kid, every level. Online courses fill that void, but kids often need a caring adult.” (Policy Leader)

“75% of the population in [my region] live in remote locales. If you want to impact the education of this region, you need to go where 75% of your population lives. If you don’t understand that culture and need of rural and remote areas, you will not understand the needs of Texas.” (Higher Education Administrator)

Grantee Spotlight
The Work4College program allows students to gain work experience while earning their degree at Northeast Texas Community College (NTCC). Participants earn $15/hour in a meaningful job on campus or in the local community, half of which is theirs to spend and half of which is saved and applied toward NTCC coursework. Now in its seventh year, Work4College has served more than 200 students. 79% of them have remained debt-free. The program is led by Dr. Jon McCullough, Executive Vice President for Advancement at NTCC. To learn more, visit

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