SACS Principles of Accreditation
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Section IV: COC Programs

3.4.9 The institution provides appropriate academic support services.




The University provides a broad range of support services to ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed to their fullest potential.  All programs engage in continuous assessment efforts that are documented in the Administrative Assessment Reports

The following services are available:

Department of International Student Services:  Housed within the Division of International Programs, the Department of International Student Services offers a variety of support programs designed to enhance opportunities for academic success for international students.  These include assistance with immigration regulations and the community, coordination of services offered by other units on campus, and programs that provide guidance in setting academic and career directions.

Programs for Academic Support and Enrichment (PASE):  PASE comprises six distinct areas that share the common mission of providing learning assistance to all students. 

  • General University Department oversees developmental studies and first year experience classes as well as the administrative management of the Texas Success Initiative, the Texas state mandate related to college readiness. The University has a Developmental Education Plan which has been filed with the state and is available on PASE's web page. This plan describes the course placement, advising, and instructional sequence for developmental studies. Faculty and administrative staff are located on the third floor of the Killam Library. Developmental Studies' application for national accreditation through the National Association of Developmental Education (NADE) is in process and should be finalized by 2005.

    • First Year Experience program offers the GENU 1300 course, Theories and Applications of Learning, focusing on the development of college survival skills.  The course has proven successful in improving retention and persistence rates of students.

  • Texas Success Initiative, as mandated by the Texas Legislature during the 78th Session (2003), requires each entering undergraduate student to undergo a prescribed assessment of the basic skill areas of reading, writing, and mathematics.  Students who score below prescribed levels are required to enroll in developmental education courses in the area of their skill deficiency.

  • Testing Center, located on the second floor of the Killam Library, supports the academic programs by providing centralized testing services. Services include the administration of national and state test offerings (GRE, TExES, THEA, COMPASS, CAAP, etc.) as well as local University wide tests such as the University Writing Assessment and the Comprehensive Exam for the Masters programs. The PASE Computer Lab is open during library hours and is a drop-in student computer lab offering a wide array of software programs that support academic instruction.

  • Writing Center, located on the second floor of the Killam Library, is open 56 hours a week and supports the instructional goals of the academic programs by providing a variety of writing support services for both undergraduate and graduate students such as individual and group tutoring, workshops, peer review sessions, literary events, and access to publications and resources (print and on-line). The Writing Center provides an inviting physical space where students can seek academic advising and preparation for the University Writing Assessment, a requirement for all undergraduate students. Assistance is available through the Internet via the Writing Center's web page. The Writing Center supports faculty as well through class presentations or writing resources for classroom projects. The Voices in the Monte Series, a writer's speaker series, showcases national, state, and local writers who speak about their craft and provide support to University and community writers.

  • Center for the Advancement of Scholastic Achievement (CASA) is located on the second floor of the Killam Library and is open 62 hours a week. CASA supports the instructional goals of the academic programs by providing individual and group tutoring and workshops that support mathematics, sciences, social sciences, and other disciplines. CASA offers instructional material for test preparation and skill building in reading and mathematics in particular. CASA also provides tutoring in other subject areas and workshops for test preparation in mathematics and reading.

  • TRIO/Student Support Services program provides qualifying students an opportunity to receive academic, personal, and career counseling and to attend special interest workshops and activities.

First Year Success Program:  The University received a five year development grant under the Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) Program under Title V of the Higher Education Act. The funded activity is entitled "A Comprehensive Strategy for First-Time Students". The mission of the First Year Success Program is "dedicated to enhancing the educational, career, and personal success of first-time students attending as freshmen or as transfer students of higher levels. Student success is promoted by coordinating an array of services that are responsive to students' unique needs, and by personally linking students to the appropriate service, such as tutoring, counseling, job-seeking, test preparation, financial aid and other university support services. This is accomplished by an array of communication formats, such as face-to-face advising at time of need, phone calls to disseminate relevant information, and social gatherings to bring students and staff together in informal settings. In addition, the program offers staff accessibility throughout the day and well into the evening, thus assuring a support network throughout the difficult first year university experience."

Disability Services for Students:  Students with documented disabilities may request reasonable accommodations which will afford them equal access to all educational programs and activities of the University. The University complies with all state and federal regulations regarding the provision of reasonable accommodations to educational programs and services in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Student Counseling Services (SCS) offers a broad range of psychological and counseling services that include: outreach, individual and group counseling for students, consultations for all members of the University community, workshops on topics related to personal development and academic success, 24-hour crisis response for University students and training opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate students with academic interests in Counseling and Psychology. SCS also has an extensive collection of brochures and audiovisual materials for psychoeducational purposes. These resources are used to promote various outreach events each year including screenings for eating disorders, anxiety, alcoholism and depression, as well as an annual Wellness Fair. Most of these services are available in English and Spanish.

Student Health Services enhances the educational processes of students by reducing or eliminating health-related barriers to learning. In addition, Student Health Services is directed at improving wellness, enabling students to make informed decisions about health-related concerns, and empowering students to be self-directed consumers of health care services. Some of the services provided include: health education and promotion, emergency first-aid and referral to medical facilities or services, consultation with nurse practitioner on campus, physician consultation available upon referral from nurse practitioner, and on-site class D pharmacy.

Financial Aid is a crucial part of the recruitment and retention effort at the University. The mission is to provide students and families with the financial resources to pay for an education and assist students with the most current information about financial aid opportunities. Every student is given individualized financial aid counseling prior to the disbursement of funds. The Financial Aid Office assists the Office of Enrollment Management in the recruitment effort, provides awareness workshops about financial aid at local and area high schools, and assists students with the Free Application for Student Financial Aid (FASFA). Financial Aid works collaboratively with the Office of Institutional Advancement to award scholarship money according to the donors' requests. The Financial Aid Office also creates the Student Financial Aid Handbook, disburses federal, state and local funds to students, and provides entrance and exit counseling for loan recipients. In addition, the office administers Mexican Tuition Waivers and monitors student grades for compliance with the Satisfactory Academic Policy (SAP) as required by Federal Guidelines.



LOCATION/Special Instructions

Administrative Assessment Reports

Programs for Academic Support and Enrichment
Texas Success Initiative
Developmental Education Plan
National Association of Developmental Education
Testing Center
Writing Center
Center for the Advancement of Scholastic Achievement
TRIO/Student Support Services
First Year Success Program
Student Counseling Services and Disability Services
Student Health Services

Financial Aid

Student Financial Aid Handbook

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