Part-time students face a steep climb. As a rule, they are unlikely to earn a baccalaureate degree, as something almost always comes along to derail their progress. "Life gets in the way" is the expression we often use to describe an economic or family event that interrupts a degree plan.
In a perfect world, willing freshmen would attend college full-time, be engaged on campus, and be totally focused on growing intellectually. Obviously this can't always happen but, for some students, extra money can make a difference. Massachusetts recently announced a new program providing a ten percent rebate on tuition and fees at the end of each successfully completed semester at both community colleges and the four-year systems, to qualifying students. Once the student transfers to the university, tuition will be automatically be free, and the rebate would apply also to fees. It's covered by Ashley A. Smith, in Inside Higher Ed.
The program is complicated and may not fit well in Texas. However, finding a way to encourage full-time attendance is worthy of exploration. Some private foundations now offer such financial aid to promising students and "full ride" scholarships are available at selective institutions. But the typical community college student generally doesn't qualify.
Many years ago a study compared the graduation rates of Texas Southern University in Houston and Prairie View A&M. The student demographics were almost identical—African-Americans from families with very low incomes. In fact, many at both schools came from the same Houston neighborhoods. However, the Prairie View students were much more likely to graduate. It's pretty clear that full-time status (not to mention residency) explains much of the difference.
Some students simply can't attend full-time. That's not going to change. But many would jump a the chance if given the opportunity.