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20110708_STC-Top-In-GradsMcALLEN — Although the nation just finished its celebration of Independence Day with an array of fireworks and parades, South Texas College is just starting its celebration, but not of Independence Day. Instead, STC is celebrating garnering top spots in national rankings of community colleges.

“Every time we receive the publications regarding annual rankings, it is a time of celebration for us because it reaffirms the decisions we make to ensure the education we provide is rigorous, as well as affordable and transferrable,” said STC Chief Academic Officer Juan E. Mejia. “As an institution, we have almost doubled our graduation numbers every year for the past several years and in May 2011 we graduated more than 4,200 students. Our graduation figures, which provide the basis for these rankings, serve as a signature of authenticity regarding the opportunities we provide to students through the academic and skill sets for better lives.”

Diverse Issues in Higher Education, which focuses on issues impacting minority students, released its annual rankings of “Top 100 Producers of Minority Degrees” in June. The rankings put STC at number one in the nation in awarding associate degrees to Hispanic students in the fields of biomedical sciences, engineering, and mathematics and statistics.

This week, The U.S. Department of Education launched a new tool called the College Affordability and Transparency Center, which provides information about colleges and universities based on costs. And as published by, STC ranks right at number one on the list of the most affordable in the nation, beating out all other U.S. colleges and universities which offer undergraduate degrees and have an enrollment of 5,000 students or more.

“This is a very proud day for not only our institution, but the entire Rio Grande Valley and pioneering community colleges like ours that have focused on providing quality bachelor’s degrees, always with the idea in mind of giving our students an affordable pathway to create a better life for them and their families,” explained Dr. William Serrata, STC vice president for student affairs and enrollment management.

Diverse places STC as number two in the nation in awarding associate degrees in engineering to all minority students. The college also ranks number three in the nation in awarding associate degrees to Hispanic students, and third in the nation in awarding degrees to Hispanics in the fields of nursing, business management and marketing, physical sciences, and psychology.

Community College Week’s annual community college rankings released in June 2011 continue to rank STC in the top 100, out of more than 1,100 community colleges, in awarding associate degrees. The college also ranks fourth overall in awarding associate degrees to Hispanic students and 10th in the nation in awarding degrees to students of all minorities.

According to the publication’s annual report “Top 100 Associate Degree Producers,” STC also ranks in the top 50 in the nation for awarding degrees in the fields of criminal justice and corrections; homeland security and related protective services; interdisciplinary studies; parks, recreation, leisure and fitness studies; registered nursing; and security and protective services.

“It’s important to note that we are ranking extremely high in some key areas including biomedical science, nursing and engineering,” added Mejia. “STC is on the leading edge for training the talent to fuel our region’s leadership as the world’s center for advanced, rapid response manufacturing. As more and more people relocate to Rio South Texas for jobs in advanced manufacturing, for commercialization, and for innovation and entrepreneurship, we will work overtime to prepare the workforce needed to meet the job demand.”

Both publications rank community colleges based on the number of degrees granted annually. The data is collected from the U.S. Department of Education.

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