In Oil Country, Enrollments Slow Amid a Gusher of Jobs

In Oil Patch, College Enrollments Slow Amid a Gusher of Jobs 1

Eddie Seal, Bloomberg via Getty Images

An oil boom in Texas has enabled people without college degrees to make good money. College recruiters are scrambling to persuade would-be students of the value of a higher education.

Oil started flowing here in Alex Castillo's hometown, and all his friends could talk about was how much money they could make straight out of high school.

Stories were circulating about pipe welders earning $60 an hour and truck drivers hauling pipes for six-figure salaries—without ever setting foot in a college classroom.

Mr. Castillo, whose father does maintenance work in the business, hopes to get an oil-field job when he finishes high school, in May. But he wants to