Randall Vela

(HARLINGEN, Texas) – Reviewing options for how to pay for college can be stressful for many students — especially when trying to avoid debt.

November is National Scholarship Month, and one Texas State Technical College student recently shared how a scholarship helped ease his concerns.

Randall Vela, of Harlingen, is studying for a certificate of completion in Electrical Lineworker and Management Technology at TSTC’s Harlingen campus. The third-semester student described how he approached his enrollment coach about a sensitive issue.

“I had a conversation with (Charyck) Mascorro, and I mentioned that I needed help to pay for my college tuition and other financial responsibilities,” he said. “I cut back on hours at work so I could concentrate on my courses.”

Mascorro suggested that Vela apply for a Harlingen Economic Development Corp. scholarship.

Ricardo Trevino, TSTC’s assistant director of Enrollment Services in Harlingen, said TSTC students must meet certain qualifications to be eligible for the Harlingen EDC scholarship.

“A student is required to have a Harlingen address or have graduated from the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District, be in their final three semesters of study, and hold a grade-point average of 2.0 to be awarded,” he said.

During the spring 2022 semester, Vela was notified by The TSTC Foundation that he had been awarded a scholarship of $1,500.

“That scholarship paid for equipment, tools and a uniform that consisted of boots, pants, shirts, a hard hat, eye protection and gloves,” he said.

Additionally, Vela received a grant and other funds to help pay for college-related expenses.

The Harlingen EDC scholarship has had a tremendous impact on Vela’s college experience.

“The relief from the scholarship allowed me to focus on the curriculum being taught in the Electrical Lineworker program,” he said. “This career is all about safety. If I don’t learn how to do the job correctly, there is a high risk that I could lose my life. Now I’m utilizing my resources to complete the program.”

The TSTC Foundation supports TSTC’s 10 campuses across the state, its students, career programs, faculty and staff. Its purpose is to support the critical needs of students (scholarships, hardships, tools and equipment) and provide funds to enhance TSTC’s ability to provide new and emerging technical programs to support the Texas workforce.

TSTC offers a variety of scholarships. To learn more, please visit https://www.tstc.edu/admissions/financial-aid/scholarships/.

National Scholarship Month was established in 1998 by Scholarship America. It builds awareness about the importance of scholarships and educational opportunities in higher education.

For more information about TSTC, visit tstc.edu.

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