Texas Border Business
By Joey Gomez
MISSION, Texas – South Texas College saw a record number of recipients receiving the Mission Economic Development Authority’s (MEDA) annual scholarship for the fall 2023 semester.
Approximately 191 students were collectively awarded $129,200 in scholarships through MEDA for the fall, which represents the largest number of students and highest dollar amount awarded for a given school year since the scholarship began in 2013.
“Thanks to our scholarship team at STC, this year we received a record number of applicants and had a record number of scholarship recipients which demonstrates that today, more than ever, students need additional financial assistance,” said Juan Miguel Galvan, STC director of Student Financial Services. “South Texas College continues to have a commitment to drive economic prosperity in the Rio Grande Valley by serving our community. Part of that commitment is to ensure that students have the financial resources needed to cover the costs associated with a college education (but) achieving this ambitious feat requires collaborations with successful organizations such as the Mission Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to make the dream of obtaining a college degree a reality. Ten years of partnership with MEDC in providing scholarships to city of Mission residents represents a significant milestone towards transforming our region.”
Now in its 10th year, STC and the city of Mission in partnership with MEDA have invited permanent residents in the city to apply for the scholarship, which seeks to increase students’ chances of greater success in higher education.
The scholarship itself is an investment for residents of Mission in some of the most in-demand fields, according to Teclo Garcia, chief executive officer of Mission EDC.
“We have been able to invest in our community, upskill our workforce and put $129,000 into the hands of 191 Mission residents this fall semester and hundreds more over the last decade,” Garcia said. “This will pay high dividends. Look at the top three fields of study our recipients are pursuing: Nursing & Allied Health, Math/Science/Engineering, and Business. Those are all in high demand.”
The STC Board of Trustees approved and authorized the acceptance of the MEDA Scholarship on Aug. 29, 2012, which established a trust of $3 million with funds to be used to establish and offer scholarships.
The scholarship was first awarded in the fall of 2013, and since then more than $1.47 million has been awarded to more than 872 STC students from Mission.
Awards are determined by semester enrollment, and the scholarship is renewable if students meet continued eligibility requirements. If eligible, scholarship recipients can receive up to $3,200 to help pay for their education at STC.
To be eligible, students must be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, must be a permanent resident of the city of Mission, have earned six credit hours at STC with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher and must enroll in at least six credit hours at the college.
STC student Betzy Garza is currently studying Elementary Education and has also had a strong interest in child development. The MEDA scholarship further solidified her future career choice by setting an example for commitment to student progress.
“Anything that helps me is reflected 1000 times on my future students,” Garza said. “It motivated me to keep going forward and gave me a million reasons to feel proud of myself. It made me confident that I was doing good in school, and all the effort I put in my courses paid off.”
MEDA recipient Julio Garcia is currently in his final semester at STC and is set to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Computer and Information Technology in December. Garcia said he has spent the last two years taking four to five classes every semester while balancing a family in order to graduate.
The MEDA scholarship helped him accomplish his goals by easing his financial burden while attending college. He is set to graduate with a nearly perfect 3.96 grade-point-average.
“I am a student who has already earned a bachelor’s degree from another college, so my financial aid resources that helped me through college the first time weren’t available to me…the MEDA scholarship provided me help and reduced the amount of school loans I’d have to take out,” said Garcia, who decided on a career change from management in retail to technology. “For those with similar circumstances, balancing work, school and family I would tell them that even if they feel like they don’t have enough time, any little step is a step in the right direction. And if you fail at something, always pick yourself up and find out what you can change to get you in the right direction.”
The scholarship application and additional information is available at www.southtexascollege.edu/meda.