Texas Border Business
By Joey Gomez
MCALLEN, Texas – South Texas College Veterans and Military Services has been awarded top honors by the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) for its commitment to supporting the needs of student veterans and their families.
TVC has announced that STC has been given the Veteran Education Excellence Recognition Award (VEERA) for the 2022-2023 school year and will officially present the award to the college in the coming weeks.
“As a Veterans Department, we feel honored and privileged to be able to help and provide the necessary resources to our veterans and military population,” said Javier Guajardo, STC coordinator of Veterans Recruitment and Engagement. “We help them make the most of their benefits so they can achieve their academic goals. We are honored that we can contribute to that process for our veterans.”
The VEERA award recognizes institutions that provide excellence in education and related services to veterans and promotes best practices by awarding Gold, Silver and Bronze-level status.
STC’s Office of Veteran Affairs has received the highest recognition of Gold Status by TVC and has exemplified excellence based on at least 12 criteria including being a centralized place for students who are veterans to meet or find assistance and information, as well as employing those who who serve as points of contact for student veterans.
TVC also requires that an institution utilize a United States Department of Veterans Affairs work-study program; enact admissions and enrollment policies for veterans, and train faculty and staff on issues affecting student veterans.
STC and its Office of Student Veteran Affairs are dedicated to serving veterans, active military, reservists, spouses and dependents by offering a wide variety of resources, support, and advocacy so student veterans succeed in meeting their higher education goals.
The college has long been regarded as among the top-10 colleges in the nation for serving military and student veterans with a strong commitment to creating successful outcomes for those who are often entering college for the first time.
“I am often their first point of contact, and the first thing I emphasize is that we want student veterans to feel encouraged once they visit us. They are always welcomed here, and they will always have a home with us,” Guajardo said. “STC is the perfect place to make that transition into the academic world, and we work hard to make it as smooth as possible for them.”
Student Army veteran James Hoy is currently a work-study with STC’s Veterans office. Returning to college after being overseas through his deployment and then working for two years after that, Hoy says he is currently taking pre-requisites in order to apply to STC’s Respiratory Therapy Program by the spring.
“Our office may be small, but our veteran community here is huge,” Hoy said. “As a student veteran you have to get out and get after it. Get the assistance that you need first through the VA if you have specific issues of course, but when you make the choice to come back to school, STC has the resources you need to succeed in your education.”
For more information on veterans’ services at STC visit www.southtexascollege.edu/veterans/.