The University of Texas-Pan American has now made it easier for students to transfer from a two-year college to the University through the help of the newly opened UTPA Transfer Center.
"It is this sort of partnership and teamwork that will pay off 'en grande' for the students of STC and most importantly for the economy and prosperity of the Rio Grande Valley," UTPA President Dr. Blandina Cárdenas said. "It has become far more urgent that we make sure students have the information they need in order to make efficient decisions in their college pathway."
Mary de Leon, associate director of Admissions and New Student Services, said the center was developed to assist South Texas College students in the transfer process from STC to UTPA.
"The center was created to provide students with UTPA information in the beginning of their freshman year at STC and to assist them in transitioning successfully to UTPA," de Leon said. "This will allow them to plan early and to chart their path to success in their preferred field of study."
UTPA Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services Dr. John Edwards said the center, across the street from the STC campus, will provide a convenient place for students to get information.
"We want to do anything we can do to help ease the transition for students coming from STC, or even for those preparing to transfer," Edwards said. "An office right across the street will enable students to walk over and receive accurate information about all of the transfer processes."
STC President Dr. Shirley Reed welcomed UTPA to the neighborhood at the grand opening ceremony and said this act of customer service was to be commended.
"Our students are consumers like any other consumers. They want convenient access to information and immediate gratification," Reed said. "This is going to go a long way to serve the almost 7,000 students who have taken classes at South Texas College who are now at UT Pan Am pursuing many programs including master's degree programs."
Transfer Center staff will provide assistance with admission and academic counseling as well as financial aid and scholarship information. The center is equipped with laptops to facilitate the processing of admission applications, FAFSA submittal, transfer orientation reservations and class registration.
"More importantly, we will dedicate a lot of time to creating awareness of campus life services and programs such as housing, clubs and organizations, the Learning Assistance and Writing Centers, athletics and fine art events, and the Distinguished Speakers Series," de Leon said.
There will be two full-time staff members and two students housed at the center daily and admissions counselors will visit several times a week. The center will be open from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday. The staff will also collaborate with STC staff to schedule campus visits for students who are interested in learning more about UTPA.
"The collaboration with STC is important because together we are affecting the lives of many students, and their families, and we're also positively affecting the social fabric and economic structure of South Texas," Edwards said. "We can provide help to even more students only through collaborative processes. Our goal is to encourage even more of the STC students to complete their higher education program following their work at the community college."
According to de Leon, approximately 1,000 students transfer from STC to UTPA each year.
Edwards said students should take advantage of this center to begin learning about the positive benefits of receiving a bachelor's degree from a university.
"Through this center students can begin planning their entire higher education program early in their community college experience and ensure that the courses in which they enroll at STC will count toward fulfilling degree requirements at UTPA," Edwards said.
For more information about the UTPA Transfer Center, call 956/292-7441 or 956/292-7442.