Financially, for Mario Ortiz, getting a college degree seemed impossible, but through the efforts of the Texas Southmost College Foundation and the student scholarships it provides, he was able to pursue his dream.
The Brownsville native did not quality for financial aid and had to pay for college out-of-pocket.
“I was taking one class a semester. It was difficult to afford anything else,” said the 26-year-old. “I didn’t have a lot of money for books, supplies or transportation. It was getting harder to see myself graduating.”
His luck turned around in fall 2019 when he became eligible for financial aid and received the TSC Finish Strong Scholarship in the amount of $2,000, divided equally between fall 2019 and spring 2020.
“The money from the scholarship went a long way. I made sure to use it wisely,” said Ortiz. “I put it towards software I needed for class and for a car so I wouldn’t have to rely on public transportation. It’s a big part of the reason I was able to finish.”
Ortiz is one of several hundred students that the TSC Foundation has helped complete graduation.
The TSC Foundation is a non-profit 501(C)(3) that supports the college and its students’ educational goals by providing support for student scholarships, academic instruction and instructional support for students.
The TSC Foundation Board Chairman and Vantage Bank Senior Vice President Manuel Casanova said it’s important to provide students with scholarships, that for many, are life-changing.
“A scholarship can mean the difference between staying in college or dropping out,” said Casanova. “TSC’s goal is to give students an affordable, high-quality education, and part of that is having scholarships available for those who need them most.”
TSC’s Foundation collaborates with emerging industries, the business community and engages donors and alumni in support of TSC’s programs, activities, mission and strategic plan.
Casanova said it is through the generosity of and support from these individuals that TSC is able to continue providing a quality education and financial support to its students.
“TSC helps close to 300 students annually with scholarships and we are continuously working on increasing that number,” said Casanova. “It is our donors and the positive impact their donations make that allow our students to get the education they need and deserve.”
TSC, on average, awards students with $1,000 scholarships. Examples of these scholarships are: Finish Strong, First-Year Experience, Scorpion Scholar and TSC Foundation scholarships, in addition to Workforce Training scholarships.
Casanova said in the upcoming months, the TSC Foundation Board will expand its membership to allow for more industry and community engagement with the goal of building new partnerships to increase donor participation.
He added that by enhancing community awareness, TSC and its Foundation Board will be able to assist more students.
TSC’s new Director of Foundation and Community Outreach David Tumlinson said he is looking forward to working closely with the TSC Foundation Board in creating signature events such as a golf tournament to bring in funds for student scholarships and to raise awareness on how donors are making a positive impact on the lives of TSC students and graduates.
“When we invest in our students, we invest in our community. It’s a worthwhile endeavor,” said Tumlinson. “Whether these students enter the workforce or continue their education, we have given them the skills they need to be a positive impact in our community, which in turn fuels our economy and industries. The impact of these scholarships is far-reaching.”
To learn how you can give toward TSC student scholarships, visit the TSC Foundation or call 956-295-3679.