Victoria College finalist for higher education award

Nov. 12, 2011 at 5:12 a.m.

Victoria College was named a finalist for the 2011 Star Award from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The award will recognize the college for its TRiO Student Support Services Program and specifically, the KEY Center.

Eleven finalists, including VC, will be recognized during the Texas Higher Education Leadership Conference this month in Austin.

Victoria College President Tom Butler and members of VC's Board of Trustees' executive board will attend the conference.

VC's TRiO Student Support Services Program, which includes the KEY Center, is fully funded by the U.S. Department of Education to promote participation and success at the college level for students from underrepresented and/or disadvantaged groups. This program helps increase the retention, graduation, and transfer rates of 160 eligible students annually.

These support services apply to all students who attend VC and focus on the expansion and improvement of services that make getting a college education more accessible.

Additionally, the KEY Center offers support to low-income, first-generation, or disabled people to help ensure completion of their college education.

"These students historically face obstacles such as economic hardship and challenges with balancing the obligations of work, school and family," said KEY Center director Renee Deaver. "In addition to providing vital scholarships to these students, the KEY Center supports them with services such as laptop loans, group therapy sessions, success workshops and access to community resources."

Students who are members of the KEY Center remain members until they graduate, Deaver said. "We provide stability and support from start to finish and this has proven to make a tremendous difference in graduation rates for students who face these challenges."

According to program data, expectations set for VC's student support services are consistently exceeded by members of the KEY Center. These successful graduates are largely minorities, with 49 percent Hispanic and almost 11 percent black.

"As a community college, it is our duty to provide educational services that meet the unique needs of this community," Butler said. "I see VC's selection as a finalist for this award as a good indicator that we're fulfilling those needs and making sure our students are successful."



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