Valley Scholars Program

Institution
State
Texas
Academic Level
Associate
Issue Area
Retention
Key Personnel
Program Focus
Honors

Overview

Established in 1993, South Texas College (STC) was the only higher institution in the state of Texas to have been legislatively created due to the compelling need for a community college to serve the 600,000 residents of Hidalgo and Starr counties who did not have access to postsecondary education. STC's five campuses are located in deep South Texas along the US-Mexico border in an area known as the Rio Grande Valley. The college provides a comprehensive education to a student population of over 20,000, 95% of whom are Latino and more than 87% of whom speak Spanish at home. Seventy-five percent of STC students are first-generation college students. STC champions "excellence based on evidence" by relying on the collective "voices" of students, STC employees, and the community to create successful and innovative programs that support Latino students.

Program Description

The Valley Scholars Program was established in 1997, through partnerships with local businesses and individuals, to recognize and promote academic excellence by providing financial assistance, academic support services, mentoring, and leadership development to academically gifted and highly motivated students. The program provides a foundation that empowers students to excel in their academic achievements and to become leaders that will make significant contributions to their communities. Students are actively engaged in community service projects. This is our way of giving back to our community that graciously supports our students.

To be eligible for this scholarship program, students must: - Graduate from an accredited Hidalgo or Starr County high school

  • Graduate in the top 10% or with an 80 average or above
  • Maintain a 3.25 grade point average for any college courses completed during high school
  • Be TSI (Texas Success Initiative) College Ready or TSI Exempt
  • Enroll full-time at South Texas College in pursuit of an associate degree

The selection process includes review of an application completed by prospective student and verification of high school transcript (and college transcript if applicable) by program staff. Scholarship funding trends from sponsor donations allow a target population of 50 students for each Fall Cohort. Currently, Valley Scholars receive a maximum of $2,000 while pursuing an associate degree.

Outcome

Success is measured utilizing persistence and graduation rates. The Fall 2017 Cohort had an 88% Fall to Fall persistence rate. The Fall 2015 Cohort had a 70% three year graduation rate.