Located in the city of Paris, Texas, Paris Junior College (PJC) was established in June 1924 by the Paris Independent School District to satisfy the district’s need for an institution of higher learning. The beginnings were humble – the college started with a student population of only 91 and 7 faculty and this ambitious project was started in the buildings of Paris High School.
Growth led the school to move to its own facility a year later – again to a building donated by the federal government but consistent growth over the years led to the acquisition of the site where the college is now located in 1940. This 54-acre site is the college’s main campus but it has campuses in Greenville and Sulphur Springs. The Greenville campus, which was added in 2008, is a 39,000 square foot facility that contains administrative offices, labs, classrooms and a large meeting place.
PJC offers a broad range of educational and technical programs which it broadly divides into two categories – academic studies and workforce education programs.
Programs offered under the academic studies division are meant for students whose main aim is to transfer to a four-year institution. The college advises students joining the institution as freshmen to discuss their career objectives with an academic advisor to be sure that the courses they undertake do not just satisfy the award of the college’s associate degrees but also that they will help them transfer.
Under the academic studies division, the college awards Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS) and Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT) degrees. Fields of study covered are many and diverse. They include Associate of Arts degrees in accounting, art, business administration, drama, criminal justice, elementary and secondary teaching, history and journalism among many others. Associate of Science degrees cover such diversified subjects as computer information systems, chemistry, engineering, geology, mathematics, medical technology, physics, pre-pharmacy and pre-dental among others.
PJC’s workforce education programs are designed to prepare the student to enter and compete in the job market. The course work is therefore structured in such a way that it imparts in the student marketable skills and the level of technical competence that a particular industry is looking for. Students enrolled in the workforce education programs are awarded Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees.
The range of AAS degrees offered by PJC is also wide and includes air-conditioning/refrigeration, computer information systems, networking, criminal justice, drafting and computer aided design, watch repair (horology), welding, radiology technology, nursing and electronics technology among many others.
The college also offers a comprehensive range of certificate courses covering all the areas in which it offers degree courses. These short courses (which last between 1 and 5 semesters) are meant for professionals who need a refresher course to stay current or those that are considering changing professions.
PJC is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Other accrediting bodies are the Texas Education Agency, the Texas College and Education System and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Its nursing programs are accredited by the National League of Nursing.
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Under PJC’s open door admissions policy, any person with the demonstrated ability to benefit from college education can be admitted to the college. The college admits holders of high school diplomas from accredited high schools or those with acceptable General Education Development (GED) scores. The college requires applicants to submit official high school transcripts showing date of graduation and the signature of a certifying official.
For home-schooled students, PJC requires a notarized record of high school-equivalent work completed. For students who possess neither a high school diploma nor a GED certificate, the college uses the Individual Approval system to admit them to the college. Such students are required to show their ability to benefit from college education by completing some assessment tests. Since students admitted using this format do not qualify for federal financial aid, it is recommended that they complete the GED.
Students in high school obtain admission into PJC’s programs, both academic and vocational, through the college’s Early Admission program. Such applicants must obtain the approval of their high school heads and can only take a reduced work load that does not exceed two college courses per semester. Returning students are required to re-apply afresh and to provide transcripts issued by the institutions they attended after leaving PJC. The same applies to students wishing to transfer to the college from other colleges or universities.
International students wishing to join PJC must meet all the requirements above but, in addition, are also required make a $100 deposit for residence hall application if they are less than 21 years old. An additional $500 admission deposit is required and is usually applied toward the costs of the first semester. Such applicants are also required to show evidence of ability to meet college expenses – the college demands to know the source of income and the amount available.
International students are also required to show adequate proof of competency in English. The college requires a minimum score of 500 on the paper-based version of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) test or a score of 173 on the computer-based version. For the entire period they stay at PJC, all international students are required to have health and accident insurance cover.
Financing education at PJC can be greatly facilitated by acquisition of financial aid which is available from a variety of sources. Students who are residents of Texas stand especially good chances of obtaining aid as there are many programs aimed at helping locals.
Students attending PJC who are members of a minority group could apply for the AGI Minority Participation Program Geoscience Student Scholarship which provides both financial and mentorship support for students from ethnic-minority groups which are underrepresented in geosciences.
Since 2007, the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant has been in existence and it awards grants of up to $4,000 annually to students who intend to become teachers in both private and public secondary schools and especially those that serve people from low-income groups.
The Craig Johnson Family awards the TVMA Scholarship to students attending universities and colleges in Texas and pursuing courses that will make them “vegetation managers” as defined by the Texas Vegetation Management Association (TVMA). Winners receive a $2,000 cash scholarship, invitations to TVMA conferences and a one-year paid student membership to the association.
Apart from State grants and scholarships, students attending PJC can also apply for federal grants. By filing an application with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a student could qualify for one or several federal grants. The Federal Pell Grant awards varying amounts to needy students and the amounts are sometimes in excess of $5,000 per year. Winners of Pell grants whose financial needs are considered exceptional by FAFSA could also qualify for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG).
Other sources of financial aid available for students attending PJC include Federal Work-Study opportunities and Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford loans. Unlike many other institutions, PJC does not participate in the Parent PLUS and Perkins loan programs.
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There is a great variety of athletic activities available at PJC. The college is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and sponsors both men’s and women’s teams. The college’s teams compete in many sports including softball, baseball, basketball and golf.
The college’s teams are known as the Dragons and compete in the Region XIV Athletic Conference. Students unable to participate in these sports could also join the college’s team of cheerleaders which is a vibrant group that always has room for one more member.
Some of the Dragon teams have registered remarkable success in conference meetings in recent times. Perhaps the most remarkable team is the Dragon’s men’s basketball team which won the NJCAA Division 1 National Championship for the 2004-05 season. The college’s golf team has made more than 20 appearances at the NJCAA National Championship Tournament while the women’s softball team makes the list of the 25 top national junior college teams.
Former students of Paris Junior College meet under the umbrella of the PJC Alumni & Friends Association whose stated main aim is to promote the philosophy, aims and goals of the college. The association organizes regular meetings and special events during which distinguished and meritorious service is recognized and rewarded.
The association is led by a board of 15 directors who serve for three years with the college’s present and immediately preceding presidents serving as ex-officio members. One of the main duties that the association carries out is to act as a conduit through which former students can make cash and other gifts to the college.
“About Paris Junior College”. Paris Junior College. 16th May 2011
“Paris Junior College”. City of Emory – Land Between the Lakes. 16th May 2011
“Paris Junior College”. SHW Group. 16th May 2011