The Full-Time Job of Balancing Work and College Courses

Mauricio Hernandez’s fierce entrepreneurial streak has kept him busy since he was a kid – how will this affect his transition from high school to college?

By Kate McGeeSeptember 10, 2015 9:00 am

The percentage of Central Texas high school graduates who directly enroll in college hasn’t changed in the last decade. More than 90 percent of graduates say they plan to go directly to college. But the percentage of students who actually make it to class in the fall hovers around 61 percent.

So – what happens to that other 30 percent?

KUT Austin’s Kate McGee followed first generation college student Mauricio Hernandez over the summer to find out some of the challenges he faced.

Ever since Mauricio was a little kid, he’s wanted to make money. He skipped class in high school to detail cars. Still, he graduated and passed the state’s college-readiness test. Now, he has a good-paying job as a bellhop at a downtown hotel.

He wants to continue working while going to school.  So, he enrolled at Austin Community College where he wants to get his real estate certification.

But his counselor at Breakthrough Austin worries his desire to make money will cause Mauricio to put school on the back burner.

Statistically, the longer Mauricio takes to complete college, the less of a chance he has of getting a degree. According to E3 Alliance, only 12 percent of low income high school graduates complete college within six years.