Valerie Schoenmakers, a TSTC nursing student who will receive her Associate of Applied Sciences degree in Registered Nursing this August, has found the right prescription for achieving her college degree: a mix of hard work, good grades and perseverance. This formula will allow her to graduate with in-demand skills and no college debt.
“I have no debt,” says Schoenmakers proudly. “I chose TSTC because it was near my house and it had the classes and degree program I wanted. Living at home, not only do I save money, but I have a more financially responsible lifestyle than I might if I were living with other students my age. It just makes sense.”
The secret to Schoenmakers’ success, besides her thrifty nature, is scholarships. TSTC has a variety of scholarships available to help students with tuition, books and more. The college hosts several scholarship workshops annually. Schoenmakers has been the recipient of two scholarships, for a total award of $3,400 in scholarship funds.
Most recently, she was one of three students awarded the Lozano Long Promise Opportunity Scholarship, for which she received $2,000. As a Lozano Long scholar, she was invited to speak at the Noche De Gala last month. She told the audience, which included current and potential donors, that she was deeply grateful for all the help she’s received.
Especially since she has seen the result of different choices.
“Several of my friends are working on degrees from other schools and they’ve already got $30,000 or more in debt,” said Schoenmakers. “I want to avoid that and start my career debt free. I used to encourage other students to apply for scholarships when I worked in the Student Success office on campus so they could be debt free, too. But I guess not a lot of people want to put the effort into filling out the paperwork and writing an essay.”
Which is all the more reason to do it, she insists. “There’s a lot of financial aid available out there for those willing to put in the effort,” Schoenmakers said. “I tell students to take school seriously and do what you have to do to get it done if you want to succeed. You need training and education to do that.”
For more information on TSTC’s nursing program, visit http://www.tstc.edu/harlingenrn/. For scholarship information, visit http://www.tstc.edu/harlingenfinancialaid/scholarships.