TSTC Sees Increase in Enrollment
Saturday, September 21, 2013
When it came time for Port Isabel’s Phylisia Tamayo to go back to school, it wasn’t hard for her to decide where she wanted to pursue her education.
Tamayo, 27, is one of the 5,951 students enrolled at Texas State Technical College this semester. Last Fall, enrollment was at 5,630 making this semester’s mark a 5.7 increase from a year ago. TSTC Harlingen’s enrollment is the highest in the TSTC System this semester.
For Tamayo, the convenience that TSTC affords its students is unbeatable. Tamayo, a student in the Education and Training program, will earn her associate’s degree in December and continue to pursue her bachelor’s degree at Texas A&M-Kingsville through the University Center, also at TSTC.
“When it came time to continue my education, the decision was easy,” Tamayo said. “TSTC offers everything we need: location, services and convenience. Being a student at TSTC has been a great experience so far and the instructors and administration are a big part of that.”
Almost every technical program division experienced an increase in enrollment with the biggest increase coming in the engineering division with a 25 percent increase, according to Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management Mary Adams.
Additionally, approximately 20 percent of students enrolled this fall are former students who have returned to continue their education and another 40 students already have a bachelor’s but are now pursuing a technical associate’s degree, Adams said.
For Raymondville’s Ashley Clinton, TSTC was also an obvious choice. Clinton, 19, plans on transferring after completing her Academic Core and majoring in Occupational Therapy.
“I feel comfortable here,” said Clinton, a 2012 graduate of Raymondville High School. “It’s close to home and they help you choose the right career path and they encourage you and won’t stop until you accomplish your goals and earn your degree.”
In the past few years, TSTC has taken a more active role through dual enrollment and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education through partnerships with local school districts. This fall, TSTC also became the first college in Texas to offer Competency Based Learning.
TSTC President Cesar Maldonado said the increase in enrollment was significant to everyone involved.
“Overall, this is a good indicator of how we are serving the education and workforce needs of the region,” Maldonado said. “We are not only enrolling more students, but they are continuing toward a degree at a higher rate. We have also seen a rise in our graduation and transfer rates, placing TSTC in the top one-third of two-year colleges nationwide. This success is due to the hard work and effort of the entire TSTC team, ranging from recruiting and college readiness to our outstanding faculty.”
TSTC administrators hope to see the trend of increased enrollment continue as it will benefit the surrounding community and the workforce statewide.
“We are always excited to serve more students, but our main focus is on the quality of education and helping Texans achieve their academic and employment goals,” Executive Vice President for Financial and Administrative Services Teri Zamora said.
Prospective students that missed the Fall Semester deadline are encouraged to begin the application process now. Spring 2014 registration begins Oct. 14 and students can start by filling out the Admissions Application and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
To fill out a FAFSA, go to www.tstc.edu/harlingenfinancialaid/fasteps.
For inquiries on admissions, go to http://www.tstc.edu/harlingenadmissions.