Frequently Asked Questions

Q Why is an election necessary?
A STC enrollment has increased by 147% since the 2001 bond election twelve years ago. Fall 2001 enrollment was 12,472 students and increased to 30,824 in Fall 2012. STC cannot accommodate the growth in student enrollment without additional classrooms, science and health care teaching labs, and technical training facilities in Hidalgo and Starr counties.The voters in both counties must approve the issuance of bonds to finance the construction before STC can move forward with the issuance of construction bonds.  Additionally, the voters of both counties must approve an increase in the maintenance and operation tax rate, which will be used to fund the increased operational costs for the college to accommodate the expansion of new facilities, growth in student enrollment, new faculty, expanded programs, and operation of the facilities.
Q Can the State pay for construction at STC?
A No. Texas law specifies that construction costs for community colleges are the responsibility of local taxpayers.  A bond election approved by local voters is the only option for South Texas College to fund the construction and equipping of additional needed facilities.
Q  Can STC ask the State to fund construction?
A Unlike other higher education institutions, by state law, Texas community colleges must use local tax dollars to fund the construction of facilities and the maintenance/operation of these facilities. State dollars are restricted to funding the costs of instruction to students.
Q Why are local taxpayers being asked to fund new construction for STC?
A By state law, STC cannot use state or local tax funds to pay for the construction and operation of new facilities without local voter approval.  Local voters must approve the issuance of general obligation bonds to fund new construction for STC and must approve an increase in the local tax rate to fund the maintenance and operation costs of new facilities.
Q What are the voters being asked to vote for?
A The voters of Hidalgo and Starr counties are being asked to vote on two propositions:

  • Proposition #1: The issuance of $159,028,940 million in 20-year general obligation bonds to fund the construction and equipping of new classrooms, science and health care training labs, technical training facilities and student support services at all the College’s campuses.  A tax rate increase of one-half cent, will be necessary to fund the general obligation bonds for the construction of equipping of new facilities.
  •  Proposition #2: A three-cent increase in the annual tax rate to pay for the increased maintenance and operation costs associated with the operation of the new facilities, growth in student enrollment, new faculty, and expanded programs.
Q Can STC hold an election to transfer tax funds from bond approved construction projects to maintenance and operation funding?
A No. STC has a maximum tax rate for maintenance and operation and cannot be increased without voter approval. Community Colleges do not have the same legislative authority as do public school districts to perform tax swaps even with voter approval.
Q Do Taxpayers in Starr County pay the same tax rate as taxpayers in Hidalgo County?
A Yes.  Taxpayers in both Hidalgo and Starr counties pay the same tax rate.  Currently, the maintenance and operation tax rate to fund South Texas College is 11 cents per $100 of assessed valuation for both counties and 4 cents to pay the debt service on bonds for the previous construction of facilities.  The College is proposing to increase the tax rate for construction bonds by ½ cent and to increase the tax rate by 3 cents for the maintenance and operation of the new facilities and the growth in student enrollment.
Q Will senior citizens and the disabled pay increased property taxes for STC?
A No.  STC has frozen property taxes for senior citizens over the age of 65 and the disabled who have filed the proper exemption forms with the appropriate county Tax Office in Hidalgo and/or Starr county.  Seniors and the Disabled with the proper tax exemption will not pay increased taxes to support STC even if the requested tax increase is approved by the voters.
Q What will be constructed with the money?
A The $159,028,940 million in bonds will be used to pay for the construction and equipping of 564,548 sq. ft. of new classrooms, science and health care teaching labs, and technical training facilities at all STC locations. Renovation of some existing space, parking lots, roadways and infrastructure are included.

Proposed Projects and Preliminary Estimated Costs

Total Cost

Pecan Campus- McAllen
  • Construct a new north academic building with classrooms, computer labs, and support area to accommodate student enrollment growth

$17,296,899

  • Construct a new south academic building with classrooms, computer labs, and support area to accommodate student enrollment growth

$11,292,888

  • Construct a new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) building with related classrooms and labs

$16,018,393

  • Construct multi-purpose area for student support services and activities

$10,434,690

Subtotal

$55,042,870

Nursing & Allied Health Campus- McAllen
·  Construct major campus expansion for new and expanded nursing and allied health professional training programs, hospital simulation center, and library

$24,015,721

Subtotal

$24,015,721

Technology Campus- McAllen
·  Expand technical and workforce training  facilities for new programs in response to local employment opportunities

$15,642,496

Subtotal

$15,642,496

Mid Valley Campus- Weslaco
·  Construct health professions, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)  and academic program  related classrooms  and labs

$24,024,365

  • Expand facilities for high-wage, high-demand workforce training

$2,934,033

  • Expand library

 $3,042,299

  • Expand student advising and student services building

$4,186,572

Subtotal

$34,187,269

Starr County Campus- Rio Grande City
· Construct Health Professions and Science Center with classrooms and labs to offer nursing and allied health programs and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs

$14,440,646

·  Expand technical and workforce training facilities for high-wage, high-demand employment opportunities

$2,733,748

  • Construct a new library and renovate existing area for a Cultural Arts Center

$3,118,928

  • Expand student services, advising, admissions, financial services building

$2,101,815

  • Expand student activities building

$2,069,447

Subtotal

$24,464,584

Regional Center for Public Safety Excellence- Pharr
  • Establish new Regional Center for Public Safety Excellence to provide regional law enforcement, and public safety training

$4,240,000

Subtotal

$4,240,000

STC Teaching Site (Jimmy Carter Early College High School) – La Joya
  • Develop STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) labs and entry level workforce training programs

$1,436,000

Subtotal

$1,436,000

TOTAL

$159,028,940

Note: Project costs are preliminary and include related parking, utilities, site work, computer technology, fixtures, furniture, equipment and fees for design.
SUBJECT TO FINAL APPROVAL BY THE STC BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Q Is there any method other than a voter approved Bond and Maintenance tax increase in property taxes to fund the student enrollment growth at STC?
A No. There is no other option available to STC to fund the construction of new classrooms, labs, and facilities to accommodate student enrollment growth.  Voters in Hidalgo and Starr counties must approve the increase of general obligation bonds to fund the construction of new facilities and must approve a tax increase to fund operating the new facilities.
Q What did STC do with the money approved by the voters in 2001?
A The voters approved $98.7 million in bonds to fund new construction for STC at all five campuses.  The College spent $98.7 million from the bond proceeds and $6 million in interest earned for a total of $104.7 million. The expenditures included construction, design fees, site development, equipment, technology, furniture and fixtures, and program management at each campus.
Q What has happened to the STC tax rate since 2001?
A The voters approved a maximum tax rate of 11 cents for the maintenance and operation of the College.  This tax provided approximately $32,560,137 or 24.2% of the cost to operate the College each year.  The tax rate for the bonds has been reduced seven (7) times since the 2002 tax year, for a tax reduction of 2.69 cents. This reduction in the rate was possible because the assessed property valuation has increased. The maintenance and operation tax rate has remained at 11 cents.
Q Can the tax rate be increased after voters approve it?
A No. Once approved by voters, the maintenance and operation tax rate will remain the same and cannot be increased without voter approval.  The tax rate required to pay off the bonds in future years may be decreased over the next few years as the counties’ assessed property valuation increases.
Q What is STC’s bond rating?
A STC is proud to have a AA-/Positive rating with Standard and Poor and a Aa2 rating with Moody.
Q Will any of the money be used to pay for administrative costs?
A No.  None of the money will be used to pay for administrative costs.  The three-cent increase in the maintenance and operations tax rate will generate approximately $8.7 million a year.  This money will be used to pay for the cost of operating the new facilities, developing new programs, hiring additional faculty, and serving the anticipated enrollment of 42,000 students by the year 2020.
Q How will the community benefit from the expansion of STC?
A Expanding STC will contribute to the economic growth and development of the region. Education is the “great social and economic equalizer” and access to quality affordable higher education is crucial. There is a direct relationship among the level of education, potential salaries, and the quality of life of a community’s residents. A skilled workforce is the fuel that will continue to drive the Valley’s economic growth.  The bond issue will provide the classrooms, teaching labs, new programs, and technical training facilities so that South Texas College may continue to prepare students for direct entry into the workforce and for transfer to the university.  South Texas College is asking the community to invest in the college so students and their future families may be prepared to fully participate as productive and contributing taxpayers with an increased quality of life.
Q Why will STC continue to grow so rapidly?
A STC serves Hidalgo and Starr counties which have grown by almost 200,000 people during the last decade. Furthermore, the Texas State Data Center at A&M University predicts the two counties will grow by an additional 200,000 people in the next 10 years. The Data Center projects a 78.3% increase in the Valley population over the next twenty-five years.  The current enrollment projections for STC are based on these projections.

Projected Student Enrollment Growth: Fall 2011 to Fall 2020

Year

Percentage of Increase

Student Enrollment

# Of Students Representing Increase

Fall 2013

3.0%

31,749

925

Fall 2014

3.0%

32,701

952

Fall 2015

3.0%

33,682

981

Fall 2016

3.0%

34,693

1,011

Fall 2017

4.9%

36,393

1,700

Fall 2018

4.9%

38,176

1,783

Fall 2019

4.9%

40,046

1,870

Fall 2020

4.9%

42,009

1,963

Q  How is STC funded?
A STC is funded from three primary revenue sources:

SOURCE

% OF TOTAL FUNDING

State appropriations based on enrollment 28.2%
Local taxes 24.2%
Student tuition and fees 43.2%
Other sources, such as interest 4.4%
Q What will it cost taxpayers?
A The total additional cost to the taxpayers of Hidalgo and Starr counties will be:

  • One half cent additional tax to fund the construction and equipping of $159,028,940 in new classrooms, science and health care training labs, and technical training facilities at all STC locations.
  • Three cents additional tax to fund the operation of the college to accommodate the growth in student enrollment, cost of operating the new facilities, new faculty, and developing new and expanded programs.
  • Senior citizens sixty-five and older and the disabled will not pay increased taxes to support STC even if the tax increase is approved by the voters, because STC has frozen all tax increases for senior citizens and the disabled.

The total additional tax is three and one-half cents per $100 of assessed value of a home or property.

The following table represents the monthly and yearly cost to property owners based on the assessed value of the taxable property.

3 ½ Cents TOTAL ADDITIONAL TAX RATE per $100 ASSESSED VALUATION

If the value of your taxable property is

Per Month

Per Year

$50,000

$1.46

$17.50

$100,000

$2.92

$35.00

$150,000

$4.38

$52.50

$200,000

$5.83

$70.00

Q What is a general obligation bond for STC and how long will it be funded?
A A bond is a promissory note that is sold to investors to finance the construction of new facilities.  The general obligation bond process is similar to a home mortgage.  The College will seek the lowest available interest rate, which is currently at the lowest rate in over 30 years and will pay off the bonds over a 20-year term.
Q  How will the bonds be paid?
A The one-half cent additional tax rate will be used to pay the annual principal and interest payment on the bonds for the next 20 years.
Q What happens after the bonds are paid off?
A The tax to fund the principal and interest payment on the bonds will cease and taxpayers will no longer be charged the tax rate in subsequent years.
Q What is the maintenance and operations tax used for?
A This local property tax funds approximately 24.2% of the money used to operate STC.  The money is used to pay a wide variety of costs such as student services (which include counseling, advising, and other services to students), institutional support (which includes the business office, personnel office, technology, security, and other services used by the entire college), maintenance and operation of facilities, and other expenses required to operate STC.
Q How long will it take to build the new buildings funded by bond construction?
A STC already has a well-prepared Campus Development Master Plan and construction would begin within one year of approval by the voters. Construction would be completed in approximately three years.Under Federal regulations, 85% of the bond proceeds must be spent within three years from the closing date of the sale of the bonds.
Q What happens if the election fails?
A STC will be forced to limit enrollment and deny access to thousands of students throughout Hidalgo and Starr counties.  Students will be denied the opportunity to attend college as well as the opportunity to prepare for high-skill and high-wage jobs in the community.  The college will have to turn away students as the Valley grows and demand for higher education continues to increase. According to the master planning firm of Freese & Nichols, current STC student enrollment has already exceeded the college’s physical capacity with its current buildings.
Q What is a community college?
A Community colleges are a unique American innovation and have a long history. Although the first community colleges existed at the turn of the 20th century, it was not until after WWII that community colleges began to spread across the country to accommodate the large number of returning soldiers who wanted the opportunity to attend college or to pursue workforce technical training.Education is the “great social and economic equalizer” in this country and the 1,200 community colleges located throughout the U.S. serve as the “institution of opportunity” for more than half of the college students in the nation.  This is also true in Texas, where the 50 community college districts enroll 750,000 students representing 55% of all students attending Texas public higher education.Community colleges can positively impact a region by raising the educational attainment level through quality and affordable degrees and certificates.  The mission of community colleges and that of STC includes a commitment to:

  • Serve students through open admissions and enrollment;
  • Provide students access to certificates of completion, associate degrees, and in unique cases, specialized baccalaureate degrees, leading to employment within the region, or for transfer to universities;
  • Provide students with a strong foundation in the core curriculum and specialized fields of study that prepares them for transfer to a university;
  • Meet the needs and demands of local business and industry by preparing graduates with the education, skills, and training needed to add value to their company, or organization;
  • Provide an environment for continuing education and life-long learning to regions and communities.
Q What kind of degrees does STC offer?
A STC offers two-year Associate of Arts, and Associate of Science degrees in academic areas that transfer to universities, which are comparable to the first two years of a university Bachelor’s degree. STC also offers the two-year Associate of Applied Science degree which prepares students to enter the workforce in applied fields such as nursing, allied health, business, and technology.  One-year certificates are also offered to prepare students for direct entry into the workforce.In addition, STC authorized to offer up to five Bachelors of Applied Technology degrees in response to the workforce needs of local employers and currently offers Bachelor degrees in Computer & Information Technologies, Technology Management, Medical and Health Services Management, and Organizational Leadership.
Q What programs does STC offer?
A STC offers over 112 associate degree and certificate programs leading to employment, or transfer to a university.  STC also offers the Bachelor of Applied Technology in Technology Management, Computer Information and Technologies, and Medical and Health Services Management. In addition, in Fall 2013, STC will begin offering the Bachelor of Applied Science in Organizational Leadership.  For a complete listing of programs, please visit the following website: http://www.southtexascollege.edu/academics/
Q  Does STC offer remedial courses?
A  Texas state law requires all students entering Texas colleges or universities to demonstrate or test that they are college ready in English, Math, and Reading.  Students pursuing an associate degree and who are not college ready in any of the three areas must be enrolled in a developmental course until they become college ready.  STC is an open admissions institution and must accept any student with an accredited high school diploma or a GED.Due to a variety of reasons, not all students are prepared for college; however, they can be as successful as other students with additional help.  STC prepares these students to participate fully in society, compete in today’s economy, and succeed in tomorrow’s workforce.
Q Has the STC enrollment of students in Remedial Courses changed since the college was established?
A Yes, the enrollment in remedial courses has decreased steadily as overall enrollment at STC has increased by 140% between 2001 and 2012. In fall of 2001, 41% of all enrolled students were enrolled in at least one remedial course. By fall of 2012, only 17% of all enrolled students were in remedial courses.
Q Why does STC serve  students who need remediation?
A Texas law requires that STC accept all students with a high school diploma or a GED and as a community college, STC has a moral and legal responsibility to assist students in need of remediation.  STC has helped thousands of students who would otherwise have been denied the opportunity to become productive, contributing tax-paying members of the community.
Q How do STC students perform at universities when they transfer?
A STC students who transfer to a university perform as well as other students who begin at a university.  As of Fall 2012, 13,014 students who previously attended STC were enrolled at UTPA and doing well with an average overall GPA of 2.68. In addition, 67% of the students graduating from UTPA in May 2012 previously attended STC, transferred to UTPA, and completed their Bachelor degree.
Q How do STC students perform on the job?
A STC students do extremely well in the workplace and on the job.  Follow-up studies have found a 95% employer satisfaction with STC graduates and employers are enthusiastic about hiring additional STC graduates.
Q How many workers does STC train for local companies?
A STC is the leader in job training for local companies and employers in the area.  STC has trained over 17,000 workers and provides customized training in response to the needs of employers.  This training is funded by the Texas Workforce Commission through Skills Development Fund grants and these students are not counted in STC’s enrollment of almost 31,000 students.STC provides state of the art preparation for entry into the workforce in over 112 Associate Degree and Certificate programs.  Courses and training opportunities are also designed for students of all ages and from all walks of life through STC’s Continuing, Professional, and Workforce Education program to help upgrade the skill level of the workforce.  Courses are designed to help those who want to upgrade their skills, change careers, or seek personal enrichment.  STC is able to meet the needs of experienced workers at different stages in their careers and also of those who are entering the workforce.  Job skills training is available for employees seeking to retool, retrain, or simply to broaden their skills to remain competitive in the job market.Access to a skilled workforce is a major factor for companies considering relocating or expanding their current operations.
Q Does STC serve students from Mexico?
A STC was created to serve students from Hidalgo and Starr counties.  Students who do not reside in Hidalgo or Starr counties must pay out-of-district tuition.  Students from Mexico who are not Texas residents or residents of Hidalgo or Starr county pay even higher out-of-state tuition, which is three times as much as students from Hidalgo or Starr counties. There has been a common misunderstanding that STC is growing because of students from Mexico.  This is not the case.  Fewer than 1% of the students enrolled at STC are non-residents of Hidalgo and Starr counties.
Q Does STC have campuses outside of McAllen?
A Yes. STC is a two-county district serving all of Hidalgo and Starr counties.  Consequently, STC has made the commitment to be conveniently located and accessible to all residents of Hidalgo and Starr counties. As a result, campuses have been established outside of McAllen (Hidalgo County) in Rio Grande City (Starr County) and Weslaco (Hidalgo County) to be conveniently accessible to students from both Hidalgo and Starr counties.
Q Does STC have a Master Plan?
A Yes. STC hired the firm of Freese and Nichols to prepare a Campus Development Master Plan to the Year 2020.  The Master Plan projects that STC should expect student enrollment to increase to 42,000 students by 2020 and identifies the facilities needed to serve the projected enrollment.
Q Can STC divide the plan into stages and have two smaller bond elections?
A The facilities usage study conducted by Freese and Nichols, confirms that the need for expanded classrooms and technical training facilities is long overdue.  Currently, STC operates with only 66% of the facilities required to accommodate the current enrollment. Currently, 45 portable buildings with two classrooms in each portable are located on the five College campuses. The number of portables will need to double to accommodate the anticipated enrollment expected by 2020.
Q Will the money be spent as promised?
A Absolutely! Once a bond and tax maintenance election is passed, STC is committed to construct the projects presented to the voters.  In 2001, voters approved $98.7 million in construction for new facilities and an 11-cent tax rate for the maintenance and operation of the College.  The College has developed five campuses, a virtual campus, and now serves almost 31,000 credit students per semester, all thanks to the voter-approved funding.
Q Does the Master Plan take into account the many students who will be taking classes on the Internet or via online distance learning?
A Yes. While STC has developed eSTC, a virtual campus to provide state of the art online learning, the Master Plan takes into account that a great number of students will continue to utilize many of the on campus facilities and services at the campuses.  In addition, the students enrolled in online courses will still require faculty and technology (especially computer labs) on the College campuses.  Furthermore, although online learning is extremely popular, it is not suited for all students, and a significant number of students will continue to enroll in courses offered throughout the college’s physical campuses.
Q Does the Master Plan take into account the many dual enrollment students who are taking classes at their local high school?
A Yes, and thankfully these students are using their high school classrooms because there is no way STC could accommodate them on campus. If dual enrollment students were on STC campuses, the college would need to expand facilities by approximately 52%.
Q Will all the facilities be ADA accessible?
A Yes. STC has a long standing commitment to being ADA accessible. All improvements and new construction will be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Q  How does STC spend its budget?
A The expenditure allocations from the STC budget for FY 2012-2013 can be summarized as follows:

By Function

By Classification

Instruction

51.68%

Salaries

59.05%

Academic Support

9.48%

Benefits

17.05%

Student Services

8.80%

Operating

21.83%

Institutional Support

20.68%

Travel

1.15%

Operation & Maintenance

8.79%

Capital

0.92%

Public Service

0.57%

Q Why doesn’t STC raise student tuition to pay for the construction?
A STC students are already paying the fourth highest tuition and fees out of the 50 community college districts in Texas. This cost is already very high and not affordable for many students even with financial assistance from Federal Pell grants.  Each semester, STC is forced to withdraw almost 1,000 registered students the first week of class because they are not able to pay tuition, fees, and purchase textbooks.
Q How does STC’s current tax rate compare to local public school districts for 2012?
$1.04- McAllen Independent School District$1.17- La Joya Independent School District$1.04- Weslaco Independent School District$1.04- Mission Consolidated Independent School District$1.17- Rio Grande City Consolidated Independent School District$1.04- Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District  $0.15– South Texas College
Q What is the current tax rate for STC?
A Four Cents – Debt payment for the balance of $20 million in construction bonds approved by voters in 1995 and debt payment for the balance of $98.7 million in construction bonds approved by the voters in 2001.Eleven Cents – Maximum tax rate approved by voters in 2001 for the maintenance and operation of the CollegeFIFTEEN CENTS – Total Current Tax Rate
Q What will the new tax rate be?
A
  • A one-half cent tax increase will be needed to finance bonds for the construction of new facilities.
  • A three cent additional tax increase will be needed for the operation of the College to accommodate the growth in new student enrollment, faculty, workforce training programs, and operation of the new facilities.

Current

Rate

Proposed Increase

New

Tax Rate

Bond Repayment

4 cents

½ cent

4 ½ cents

Operation

11 cents

3 cents

14 cents

TOTAL

15 cents

3 ½ cents

18 ½ cents

Q What is the role of eSTC as a virtual campus?
A STC created eSTC, its sixth campus to serve the needs of the “time bound” students who are juggling work, school, and family responsibilities. eSTC was launched in August 2011 and currently offers 20 online associate degree and certificate programs.  As of Spring 2013, over 5,600 unduplicated students were enrolled.  eSTC is expected to serve 10,059 students by 2020.  STC is the only Texas community college with a fully online campus with full services for the online courses and programs!
Q Will eSTC reduce the need for on campus facilities?
A No.  The Master Plan as developed by Freese & Nichols incorporates the establishment of eSTC.  Even with the expansion of eSTC, the construction bond is necessary to provide facilities for on-campus students. The College has developed five campuses and a virtual campus throughout Hidalgo and Starr counties and now serves approximately 31,000 credit students per semester, thanks to the voter-approved funding.  With the Virtual Campus, STC has increased its degree and certificate offerings to the communities; however, STC facilities are increasingly used by students for taking online courses, computer labs, library materials, and in-person tutoring. In addition, with the growing number of hybrid courses, STC facilities remain increasingly important to the success of our eSTC students. “Hybrid” is the name for courses that combine face-to-face classroom instruction with online learning, thereby offering students the best of both worlds – regularly scheduled interaction with faculty, and flexibility of a computer-based learning process.
Q What is dual enrollment?
A Dual enrollment at South Texas College allows high school students to simultaneously earn South Texas College credits towards a college degree or certificate and high school credits towards graduation from high school.  The courses are taught to college level academic students and are comparable to a college-level course.  While the course may be taught by a high school teacher, the teacher must meet college-level faculty requirements and be approved by STC.
Q What is the cost of tuition and fees for dual enrollment?
A South Texas College waives all tuition and fees for students at participating school districts who take classes at the high school site and/or with special programs held at the STC campuses.  High School students, including Home School students, who are not part of the Early College High School program and who enroll in traditional STC college classes as independently enrolled Dual Enrollment students, pay only $50 per credit hour.
Q Since some dual enrollment programs are offered at the public school site, is there a need for additional facilities by the College?
A A significant amount of dual enrollment classes are held at each of the College’s campuses throughout the district.  The number of these classes offered at our STC campuses is expected to increase with programs such as the Early College High Schools, Academies, and special high school recovery programs.  The demand for more college classes and classroom space is expected to grow significantly with the increase of the Early College High Schools from 15 to 20 in the coming year.  This is especially significant since Early College High Schools expect students to take college classes among the regular students on STC campuses whenever possible.While some dual enrollment classes are offered at public schools, a significant number of dual enrollment classes are held at each of the College’s campuses throughout the district, and this number is expected to continue to increase.  STC is currently serving over 12,000 dual enrollment students and currently working with 21 school districts.  The College is also the higher education partner to 15 Early College High Schools, and soon to be 20, where participating students are provided the opportunity to enroll in dual enrollment courses at the College’s campuses.  Students in Early College High Schools can select from the numerous degrees and certificates offered by STC.  In addition, South Texas College has in place Dual Enrollment Academies, and students are required to attend college classes on STC’s campuses.  In addition, the College is engaged in very innovative programs which are reducing the high school dropout rates, and these programs also require that students attend classes at the College’s Campuses.The successful collaborations between South Texas College and the participating school districts have served over 67,000 students since 2003, tuition free, which has saved South Texas families over $71 million.   These innovative approaches to education have received state and national recognitions, and have been identified as essential to the community’s recognition of the importance of a college education.
Q What will be the impact to dual enrollment without the successful passage of the election to support the maintenance and operation of the program and the funding for additional facilities?
A While South Texas College is committed to serving the students and communities from Hidalgo and Starr counties, the impact to dual enrollment without additional funding for maintenance, operations and facilities would result initially in what is referred to as “capping” of enrollment, programs and services, and the likelihood of downsizing or eliminating some of the programs.Research clearly demonstrates that students who participate in dual enrollment will be more likely to complete and graduate from a college or university. While South Texas College is committed to serving the students and communities from Hidalgo and Starr counties, the impact to dual enrollment without additional funding for maintenance, operations, and facilities would initially result in limiting enrollment, limiting programs and services, and eventually downsizing or eliminating some of the programs.
Q How will the merger of UTPA and UTB and the establishment of a medical school impact STC?
A The merger of the University of Texas Pan American (UTPA) and the University of Texas Brownsville (UTB) will make the role of STC more critical than ever. As of Fall 2012, 13,014 students who previously attended STC, were attending UTPA, and 67% of UTPA’s May 2012 graduating class previously attended STC. The need for STC to provide well prepared transfer students will only increase with the establishment of the new university. The anticipated increase in admissions standards by the new university will route additional students to STC to prepare for the more competitive admission criteria. STC’s affordable tuition will also be a factor and will encourage students to begin and complete an associate’s degree with STC prior to beginning the transfer process to the new university.