By Melissa Trevizo
Student support services at San Jacinto College offer students many resources to help them be successful on their college journey. In addition to academic services, students are also eligible to access wrap-around services relating to socio-economic and mental health issues.
Tanesha Antoine, dean of student support services, has been able to pull educational planning, counseling, accessibility services, and student engagement under the same umbrella allowing each of these areas to work together more effectively while focusing on their individual roles to better serve students.
“Our goal is to be more intentional with each student,” Antoine said. “Pulling each of these areas out and aligning them with accessibility services counselors is going to open up a lot of opportunity to follow up personally with each student and make sure they are connecting with the resources we provide.”
Students are referred to the Student Support Services division in a variety of different ways. Either through faculty or staff referral through an early alert system, student surveys at their start of their San Jacinto College journey that help identify food insecurity or housing insecurity, and self-referral.
“Our counselors are able to help connect students to a wide variety of programs not just within the College but to partner programs as well,” Antoine said. “Whether that be our food market or café meals program, child care assistance, mental health services, or helping to apply for benefits like WIC or food stamps.”
San Jacinto College is an official community partner with Texas Health and Human services. The community partner program builds bridges between Texas Health and Human Services and communities statewide to provide access to food, cash and health care.
“By bringing education and awareness to our counselors, we are more prepared to help our students,” said Antoine. “We give them monthly training to stay abreast of updates in our resources and how we can help remove any roadblocks to students’ educational experience.”
Using CARES act funding this year, student support services was able to offer two scholarship programs, the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and the Book Assistance Program (BAP). These programs were put in place to offer assistance to students who were hindered from completing full registration because they were short on cash.
“During the last three weeks of registration, as students were speaking with educational planners and the business office if they were a little short or had an unexpected cost, and it was going to stop them from admitting, we were able to cover that last bit for them,” said Joanna Zimmerman, associate vice chancellor, student services. “We did the same for books when students were just a bit shy of their cost. This was at the discretion of our employees so there was no paperwork on the student’s end to slow down the process. It was just a conversation with a struggling student and an educational planner.”
Student support services at San Jacinto College is set-up to help all students be successful using a variety of campus and partner programs and personalized service with a counselor or educational planner.
“We could just give a student a phone number, but help them make the call and make sure they connect with the right people it makes a big difference,” said Antoine. “Sometimes, once a need is identified, the need changes, because life changes. It is important to us to follow up with students to see how they are faring and if their needs have changed not only through the semester but through their journey at San Jacinto College. We know sometimes life outside of the classroom can impact success, and we are here to ease those worries.”
To find out more about the Student Support Services at San Jacinto College, visit https://www.sanjac.edu/student-support.