South Texas College, for six consecutive years, has received a Military Friendly School Gold Award, and for the first time a Military Friendly Spouse School recognition.
The Military Friendly rating is awarded by VIQTORY, a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business, and measures an organization’s commitment, effort and success in creating sustainable and meaningful opportunity for the military community.
“This is a distinction we’re proud of,” said Javier Guajardo, coordinator of Veteran Recruitment and Engagement at STC’s Veterans and Military Services. “We have an experienced staff that works to see that our veteran students and dependents are successful in their pursuit of a career.”
STC earned the 2022-2023 awards, according to the Military Friendly rating, for exceeding in areas such as academic policies and compliance, admissions and orientation, culture and commitment, financial aid and assistance, graduation and career and military student support and retention.
The Gold and Military Friendly Spouse Awards expand across STC’s Pecan, Mid-Valley and Starr County campuses, each with a Student Veterans Affairs Office to service the more than 800 veterans, veteran spouses and dependents attending STC.
“Having this type of distinction gives our veterans and their families confidence in attending our college,” said Juan Miguel Galvan, director of Student Financial Services and who oversees the Office of Student Veterans Affairs. “Knowing that they have a supportive team rallying behind them and the resources they need to get ahead, makes all the difference.”
STC’s Office of Student Veterans Affairs employees who are certified by the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department, to assist veteran students and their families in completing the documents necessary to receive benefits such as the GI Bill and Hazlewood Act.
STC student Victorious Field, served four years in the United States Marine Corps, before enrolling in college, and said, when it was time to register, it was STC’s Veterans and Military Services that guided and supported her.
“I’m so grateful that I found a welcoming community that feels like home,” said the Texas transplant. “STC’s veterans affairs allows us so many opportunities for a brighter future and proves to be life-changing for many of us. I’m not surprised that STC is considered a Military Friendly School.”
Field, who is working toward an associate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, is now also a work-study employee with the Office of Student Veterans Affairs.
“To be able to help others, the way I have been helped is invaluable,” she said. “This is our safe zone, where friendly banter turns into friendships, that turn into family. To see each other reach goals makes me happy, and it’s all possible because of the wise people and resources we have access to as veterans.”
In addition to benefits and enrollment assistance, STC’s veterans affairs also offers safe havens known as the “Foxhole,” a room dedicated to veterans, spouses and their dependents, that is equipped with comfortable seating, computers, televisions and printers.
There is a “Foxhole” available at the Pecan, Mid-Valley and Starr County campuses.
STC Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Matthew Hebbard said STC is committed to serving those who have served the country, and this recent recognition is proof of that dedication.
“We are proud to serve our active-duty military, veterans, their spouses and dependents, and are honored for this distinction,” said Hebbard. “This is a highly selective and competitive national process. With the Gold award, once again, South Texas College has been recognized as an innovative and dynamic institution, and we are humbled to serve the members of our armed forces and their families.”
For more information about STC’s Office of Student Veterans Affairs and the resources offered, visit southtexascollege.edu.