Getting ahead: TSTC helps veterans maximize course credit

BY Amanda Sotelo

TSTC is taking steps to make it easier for veterans to qualify for College Credit for Heroes.

The College Credit for Heroes initiative ensures that active duty, former and retired military personnel receive credit for skills learned while serving. This will allow them to receive degrees and certificates in less than the traditional course time and expedite their entry into the workforce.

“Many times military personnel or veterans have a family to support, so getting into the workforce quickly is a priority for them,” said Edna Claus, campus lead for business management, computer science and gaming and simulation programming. “And with this program it pretty much puts them ahead by one semester.”

College Credit for Heroes gives students the option of using military skills or taking the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exam for course credit.

This year, TSTC will be offering an additional one-week Quick Review Course through the College for Heroes program that will prepare students for the CLEP exam and make it less daunting.

“We’re always working on ways to help our students,” said Claus. “Through the Quick Review Course we give the student all the materials necessary to pass the CLEP exam, and in turn save time and money.”

The courses included in College Credit for Heroes this year are Business Management Technology and Computer Networking and Security Technology. Within each program there are three courses that students can receive credit for either through military experience or a CLEP exam.

“We did research and found that these two programs are the most popular among our active military and veteran students,” said Claus. “We hope many will take advantage of what this program has to offer.”

TSTC Grant and Contract Specialist Ben Capetillo added that the College Credit for Heroes grant also supplies tools and equipment for students.

“The money we get from College Credit for Heroes helps us with the foundation we need to build a long-term program,” said Capetillo. “In addition, we’re able to purchase laptops and equipment students can use in order to be successful.”

College Credit for Heroes at TSTC is in its third year. The first grant was received in 2015, focused on supporting veterans in Wind Energy and Turbine Technology and the creation of TSTC’s Veterans Center, which assists veterans and their dependents with admissions, financial aid, GI Bill and Hazlewood Act processes.

The College Credit for Heroes grant’s second year focused on veterans in Automotive Technology.

“We’ve really established a foundation for this program,” said Claus. “Our hope is that after its initiation we can implement this toward our other technologies and be able to make this opportunity available to all TSTC students.”

The current College Credit for Heroes grant is only available at TSTC’s Harlingen campus, but once all documentation such as curriculum is reviewed, submitted and completed, the college’s other nine campuses will have the chance to follow the model and implement the program as well.

TSTC’s Harlingen campus has been named a military friendly school for the last seven years, and the TSTC System has earned the same recognition for two consecutive years.

For more information on College Credit for Heroes call 956-364-4819 or visit