Angelina College’s ‘First Year Free’ Initiative Benefits Local Students and Parents


In just its second fall semester since inception, Angelina College’s “First Year Free” initiative is already seeing Angelina County students reaping big rewards.

During the past fall semester, nearly 300 Angelina County high school graduates enrolled at AC, and all were able to attend tuition-free. Through the utilization of various “layering” methods involving scholarships, other forms of financial aid and the AC Challenge Scholarship Fund, the initiative successfully upheld its goal of “making college education more accessible to the talented individuals in our community.”

Krista Brown, Associate Vice President of Student Services, said that because “First Year Free” is still relatively new, the college wants to ensure word gets out early enough for students and parents to begin planning for their next step after high school graduation.

“Many individuals remain unfamiliar with the financial aid process due to all of the changes made by the federal government this year,” Brown emphasized. “We want to reassure students that regardless of their situation, they can attend the first year free upon graduating from an Angelina County high school and meeting our requirements” (listed at

Eligibility requirements including graduating from an Angelina County high school, applying to Angelina College, applying for federal aid (FAFSA), applying for possible AC scholarships and enrolling at AC as a full-time student (a minimum of 12 semester hours).

While federal financial aid uses “cutoffs” regarding income brackets, the First Year Free initiative ensures all Angelina County students can start college without financial burden.

“Angelina College proudly stands behind the ongoing initiative of First Year Free, ensuring that all students in our community have the opportunity to pursue higher education,” Brown said.

“We’re already seeing and hearing so many positive results, and we can’t wait to see others enjoying the same benefits.”

For further information, contact Krista Brown at   

Gary Stallard
Sports Information Director Gary Stallard, who also serves as a Liberal Arts Instructor, begins his eleventh season with Angelina College. Following a career as a U.S. Marine, Stallard completed his bachelor’s degree at Stephen F. Austin University, where he majored in English and Journalism. For more than 16 years, he has worked as a sports writer/columnist/photographer for the Lufkin Daily News; he continues to contribute free-lance articles on occasion. Stallard has won several awards for writing, including the Golden Hoops Award for basketball writing in 2003, Regional Sports Writer of the Year in 2004, and the Texas Press Association’s first-place award for column writing in 2007 and in 2014. He has also done basketball, football and baseball radio and live streaming play-by- play and color commentary for an ESPN affiliate. Currently Stallard serves as play-by-play broadcaster for AC basketball, baseball and softball games. Prior to arriving at Angelina College, Stallard taught English at Lufkin High School for four years. He currently teaches Developmental Writing classes at AC. He and his wife Susan live in Lufkin.

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