STC announces Free Class Initiative
STC Organizational Leadership student Jisel Muñoz is one of hundreds of students who will qualify for STC’s fall 2022 $800 grant recently approved by the college’s Board of Trustees.
South Texas College Board of Trustees have approved an $800 grant for students who are registered or interested in registering for fall 2022 to use for a free class or other expenses.
In a special board meeting called to approve STC’s newest enrollment initiative, board members discussed how this recently approved grant is going to bring relief and opportunity for many students in the Rio Grande Valley.
“We are familiar with the struggles our students face all too well,” said STC Board of Trustee Chair Rose Benavidez. “Many of our residents are still struggling with uncertainty as the region recovers from a global pandemic and unfortunately for some, that shifts pursuing an education to bottom of their priorities. We hope these funds will allow our students to continue moving forward to fulfilling their academic and professional goals.”
This $800 grant will help STC students like Jisel Muñoz, reach the finish line this December.
“I only need two classes to graduate. Two classes to earn my bachelor’s degree; a dream I’ve worked toward for a while now,” said the 20-year-old. “With this free class, I’m going to be left with a minimal balance toward my tuition, meaning, I can afford to finish.”
The Roma native and first-generation college student says this is a game changer for her and her family.
She already holds an associate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies that she earned last year and will soon have a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership, which she has earned as a student at STC’s Starr County campus in Rio Grande City to stay close to home.
“My family went from financial security to financial hardship within the last couple of years because of COVID-19,” said Muñoz. “I’ve been taking advantage of every grant, free semester and free class I have been able to, to continue working toward my degree. Without any of it, I would not be where I am. It’s been a sigh of relief and huge help for my family. I’m so grateful.”
And because Muñoz has been able to continue her education, she has also been able to serve STC’s students and community as the Student Government Association vice president and student worker for the Starr County campus student food pantry, with hopes of getting a full-time job with the college after graduating.
“We are familiar with the struggles our students face all too well. Many of our residents are still struggling with uncertainty as the region recovers from a global pandemic and unfortunately for some, that shifts pursuing an education to bottom of their priorities. We hope these funds will allow our students to continue moving forward to fulfilling their academic and professional goals.”
STC’s Director of College Connections Larry Barroso said the $800 grant students are receiving comes from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act Higher Education Relief Fund (HEERF II) from the U. S. Department of Education and from the American Rescue Plan (HEERF III).
“Our goal is to always make college accessible,” said Barroso. “These funds are here to help our students stay on track.”
To be eligible for the grant, a student must register for at least three credit hours at STC and apply for the grant; if a student has already completed their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and received a Federal Pell grant, the money will automatically be dispersed to the student.
Dual enrollment students are not eligible.
Funds through this grant are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Students will have two options on how they want to receive their money. They can choose to apply it to their tuition, which means the money will be applied to their student accounts 10 days before the first day of class, or students can opt to receive their money after the semester census day to use toward books, supplies or other necessities.
“This reinforces our commitment to students, student success and our community,” said STC President Ricardo J. Solis, Ph.D. “We value our students, their education, their goals and we are here to help them reach their potential and change lives.”
To apply for this grant or for more information, visit https://stc.media/heerfII or call 1-855-GoToSTC.