Student Support Services and Resources - Palo Alto College (2024)

  • The Welcome Center
  • Student Advising Centers
  • Dual Credit and Early College High School
  • Bookstore
  • Cafeteria
  • Child Care
  • Disability Support Services
  • Housing
  • Student Center
  • Student Activities
  • Student Clubs and Organizations
  • Alamo Colleges Student Leadership Institute
  • Aquatic Center
  • Testing Services
  • Library
  • Community Resources
  • Transfer Services
  • Career Services
  • Counseling Services
  • International Student Services
  • Student Support Services Program TRiO
  • Tutoring Services
  • Special Programs
  • Veterans Affairs

The Welcome Center


The Welcome Center is the first stop in your journey to success. The staff is trained to help new students negotiate the maze of admissions, financial aid, and assessment. The Welcome Center also coordinates New Student Orientation, New Student Convocation, Discover PAC, College Connection, and campus tours. Services and programs offered for new students include:

  • Getting started with admissions, testing,- Remove and financial aid information
  • Online access to “ApplyTexas” admission form
  • Online access to AlamoEnroll modules
  • Guidance with completing FAFSA application online
  • Computer Lab to view or print unofficial transcripts, class schedules and tuition bills
  • Recruitment Events
  • Campus Tours
  • College Connection
  • New Student Orientation
  • New Student Convocation

Come by or call the Welcome Center at (210) 486-3100 if you need assistance or information. The Center is located in the Palomino Center, Room 103. The Welcome Center is your pathway to success!

Student Advising Centers


At the Alamo Colleges-Palo Alto College, academic advising and career advising builds a culture of integrated practices and shared responsibilities. Through collaborative teaching and learning, the advising process empowers our diverse student populations to explore and navigate their academic and career pathways. Palo Alto College has three Academic Advising Centers. The Business Opportunities Leadership Demand (BOLD) Occupations Advising Center, Service Education Empowerment Diversity (SEED) Advising Center, and the Science Technology Engineering Arts & Communications Math (STEAM) Advising Center each provide academic advising support to new and currently enrolled students.

All students enrolled in courses at Palo Alto College are assigned a Certified Academic Advisor. The Certified Academic Advisor provides students with a personalized pathway to success through academic and career advising. Your assigned advisor will assist you with developing a degree plan, registering for courses, completing a financial aid appeal, exploring careers, and researching transfer opportunities.

Advising Centers provide students information on courses needed for a certificate, a two-year associate degree or courses required for transfer from Palo Alto College to other colleges/universities.

Early Alert Program

Early Alert is designed to promote student success and retention by serving as a resource tool to faculty in efforts to enhance academic success. The primary objective of the program is to identify academic difficulties within the first 6-8 weeks of a semester that may negatively impact overall student success. The Early Alert program is initiated when a faculty member identifies students who are experiencing academic difficulties. As a result of a faculty-initiated referral, the assigned Certified Academic Advisor contacts the student and advises the student about ways to address their academic difficulties. A final report is given to the faculty regarding the outcome of the meeting with the student through academic counseling and community resource referrals.

Dual Credit and Early College High School Programs


Dual Credit

The Dual Credit Program allows eligible high school students to earn college credit for certain high school courses in which they are currently enrolled while completing their high school requirements. In order for students to participate in the program, the high schools must be approved to offer Dual Credit courses and students must be recommended by their high school counselor.

Early College High School Programs

Early College High Schools are partnerships between school districts and colleges that are innovatively designed to blend high school and college education using a dual credit framework. The schools are designed for youth to simultaneously earn a high school diploma and an associate degree (or up to two years of credit toward a bachelor’s degree). Beginning in Fall 2014, Palo Alto College, partnered with five public school districts and one charter school, to begin enrolling freshman-level students in early college high schools. Students participating in the program can compete their high school diploma while earning up to 60 semester credit hours toward an Associate’s degree by their high school graduation. All initiatives have been approved and designated by Texas Education Agency and there is no cost to students enrolled in the program. Palo Alto College’s partnering school districts include the following: Harlandale ISD, Somerset ISD, South San ISD, Southside ISD, and New Frontiers Charter School.



The College bookstore operates as a service to students, faculty and staff. Textbooks, school and office supplies, and course-related materials are provided along with gift items, greeting cards, paperbacks and other items. It is located in the Student Center, and operating hours are posted each semester.



The cafeteria is located in the Student Center. Breakfast, lunch, and snacks are available to the campus community. Hours of operation are posted at the beginning of each semester. Special hours are followed during registration and holiday periods.

Child Care


The Ray Ellison Family Center (REFC) provides high quality child care and early childhood education for the children of the Palo Alto College community while supporting family development and parents’ pursuit of a college education.

The Ray Ellison Center is comprised of four classrooms serving children ages 21 months through 5 years old. The program features low child-teacher ratios, innovative programming, family activities, and a highly qualified staff. Flexible schedules and fees are available; limited financial assistance may be available to eligible PAC students. Please visit the REFC website to learn more about the program’s philosophy, curriculum and schedule:

The REFC is located conveniently between the Ozuna Library& AcademicCenter and the Student Center. To obtain more information, please call the Center at (210) 486-3500.

Disability Support Services


PAC is committed to ensuring that all programs, services and facilities are accessible to and provide equal opportunities for education to all students.

The Disability Support Services (DSS) Office coordinates accommodations for PAC students with permanent and temporary disabilities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The ADA prohibits discrimination in the recruitment, admission or treatment of students. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states: “No otherwise qualified individual … shall solely by reason of … handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

Guidelines to Establish Accommodations:

  • Students self-disclose and request accommodations through the DSS office.
  • Students are encouraged to provide current documentation to include a diagnosis and the Functional limitations of the individual. Initial request for accommodations may take 7-10 business days to process once the student’s application file is complete.
  • DSS will schedule an intake interview to discuss reasonable accommodations.
  • Confidential Letters of Accommodation are issued to the student via ACES email.
  • A Renewal of Services Form is required each semester the student seeks accommodations.

Accommodations to students may include but are not limited to:

  • Peer Volunteer Note-taking
  • Extended Test Time
  • Reader and/or Scribe
  • Sign Language Interpreter Services
  • Adaptive Equipment
  • Assistive Technology
  • Priority Registration
  • Audio Recorders for Classroom Use
  • Reading Material in Alternate Format
  • In-Class Accommodations

DSS does not provide personal tutoring, personal attendants, disabled parking permits or personal counseling.

Disability Support Services is located in Palomino Center, Room 116.

Disabled Parking

Students of the AlamoColleges are required to display their County Tax Assessor Collector-issued disabled parking placard or have disabled parking license plates in order to park in spaces designated for persons with disabilities.

VIA Trans

Palo Alto College provides several convenient VIA Trans drop off and pick up locations. For a map or information, contact the Disability Support Services (DSS) Center at (210) 486-3020, TTY 486-3022 or stop by the office at the Palomino Center, Room 116. Students may obtain a VIA bus pass from the Bursar Office in the Palomino Center, which is covered by the Campus Access Fee.



Palo Alto College is a commuter college, and no College dormitories are available. The College does not maintain lists of available housing. Housing is available within the area. Students assume sole responsibility for locating appropriate housing.

Student Center


The Palo Alto College Student Center offers opportunities for socializing and relaxation. A T.V. area is available for student viewing. The bookstore, cafeteria, Student Activities Office, Student Government Association Office, automatic teller machine (ATM), copy machine and vending machines are located in the Student Center and are accessible for student use.

Student Activities


The Student Activities Office provides a student friendly resource center at Palo Alto College, offering opportunities to become involved in campus life through participation in clubs, student organizations, student government, cultural activities, education, entertainment, games and hobbies, food classes, and arts and crafts activities. We welcome students to take part in these exciting co-curricular activities.

The following services and programs are among those provided by the Student Activities Office:

  • Informational clearinghouse for all campus activities;
  • Advisem*nt on the formation of clubs/student organizations;
  • Promotion of student involvement in campus governance;
  • Development of interpersonal and leadership skills;
  • Scheduling and planning of special events on campus;
  • Budget advisem*nt for club funding;
  • Assistance in event planning;
  • Responsibility for on-campus posting;
  • Issues discount bus cards; and
  • Coordinates Student Activity Fee.

For more information, call (210) 486-3125 or visit the Student Activities website at

Student Clubs and Organizations


Palo Alto College students have the opportunity for membership in social, service, religious, special interest, political, professional, and honorary organizations. Guidance and direction are provided to these organizations by faculty and staff advisors. An official list of registered organizations is available in the Student Activities Office. Recruitment activities are held at the beginning of each term to help new students get acquainted with the organizations.

For more information about joining a club or organization, please contact the Student Activities office at 486-3125 or stop by the office in the Student Center, Room 124.

For more information, visit the Student Life Office website at

Student Government Association (SGA)

The Student Government Association (SGA) consists of Palo Alto College students elected by the student body to promote beneficial understanding among the students, faculty and administration. The SGA ensures representation of students in the college governance structure and assists with the dissemination of information to the student body. SGA is also responsible for recommending student members to the Student Activities Fee Committee. Students interested in finding out more about SGA should call 486-3129 or visit the SGA Office located in the Student Center.

Alamo CollegesStudent Leadership Institute


“Empowering Today’s Students to be Tomorrow’s Leaders”

The Alamo Colleges’ Student Leadership Institute (SLI) is a district-wide program that provides leadership training. This yearlong commitment provides instruction in skills that enables the AlamoColleges’ representatives to lead a group or work in collaboration with other leaders to accomplish organizational objectives. Students are able to meet various successful community leaders, use lab models, consider case studies, and participate in field studies, while drawing upon the expertise of those who have held leadership roles in all sectors of the community. Students selected to participate in the Alamo Colleges SLI receive scholarships.

For applications or further information, please contact the Student Activities Office or call the SLI office directly at (210) 485-0790.

Aquatic Center


The Palo Alto College Aquatic Center was designed as a world-class aquatic facility. The connected swimming, warm-up, and diving pools; the competition-height spring boards, and the diving platforms meet national championship qualifications but you don’t have to be a world-class competitive swimmer to enjoy the Aquatic Center’s water facilities. It is open to the community for open swimming sessions several times a week and is used for college credit and continuing education classes as well as special lessons for children and adults. The Aquatic Center is fully accessible for physically challenged persons. Contact the Aquatic Center at (210) 486-3800 for details and a current schedule.

Campus Recreation

Recreational activities and sports are coordinated through Campus Recreation. These recreational events are open to all current students, faculty, and staff. The program maintains open hours in the Gymnasium for recreational activities.

Recreational Activities and Sports programs include:

Intramural Activities

  • Basketball
  • Basketball Shooting Contest
  • Flag Football
  • Dodgeball
  • Soccer
  • Volleyball

Recreational Activities

  • Sports & Outdoor Activities

For more information, call (210) 486-3135 or stop by the office, GYM 101C.

Fitness Center

The Fitness Center at Palo Alto College is committed to helping you achieve your goals to get fit for a healthy lifestyle. The Fitness Center is available to Alamo Colleges students, faculty, and staff with a valid and current Alamo Colleges ID. No initiation fees or contracts are needed to use the facility. Public memberships are not available.

Our facility includes:

  • Cardio equipment
  • Free weights
  • Weight machines
  • Locker rooms with individual lockers and showers
  • Full court basketball
  • Unlimited use during open hours

*Entrance into the Fitness Center allows access to the Aquatic Center and Gymnasium during specified times.

Testing Services


The Palo Alto Testing Center offers a variety of testing programs to assist students with state test requirements and academic placement. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the resources and services provided by the Center.

Testing programs available to students and the community include:

  1. Placement Testing/Texas Success Initiative Testing

    All Palo Alto students, except Active Duty Military or VA, are required to have test scores for academic advisem*nt and TSI purposes. Those enrolling in Corporate & Community Education or pursuing certain state-approved technical certificates are required to have test scores for academic advisem*nt and TSI purposes. Scores must be less than five years old. In some cases, additional placement testing may be required for placement into some college-level courses. Tests accepted at Palo Alto include: TSI ASSESSMENT

  2. College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)
    Only specific CLEP Subject Examinations are administered and accepted. A list is available online or at the Testing Center.
  3. Academic-Makeup/Distance Testing Scheduled dates and times vary by semester. Contact the Testing Center to confirm an appointment.

Standardized tests are administered on scheduled dates and require advance registration and payment if applicable. The placement tests or TSI exams are offered on a scheduled basis and during registration periods. Contact the Testing Center for more information.



The Ozuna Library and Academic Learning Studio is an instructional component of Palo Alto College. It is composed of a progressive teaching library, technology facilities and services, and a self-contained Children’s Library. The Ozuna Library selects, acquires and maintains library resources in print, electronic and media formats. The Ozuna Library provides point of need, introductory, academic and certificate instruction for individuals and groups, and also offers a free series of classes on research (Information Research Certificate - a total of seven classes).

Community Resources


The goal of Community Resources is to identify the needs of students and determine the categories of community, institutional, and child care resources required to address those needs. Referrals are made to United Way agencies for financial assistance, utility relief programs, child care, domestic violence, and housing which may include the following: Child Care Delivery Service (CCDS), Catholic Charities, De Paul Family Center, Housing Authority of San Antonio, CARE LINK, City of San Antonio-Department of Community Initiatives and Family Violence Prevention Services. Students may be referred by faculty, staff, and/or self-referral. All inquiries are welcome. For assistance, come to the Student Activities Office located in the Student Center Center, Room 124, or call (210) 486-3125 or speak with your assigned Advisor.

Transfer Services


Transfer Services provides the educational road map for successful transfer from Palo Alto College to the four-year university. Transfer Services are provided by all Advising Centers on campus. Students can visit with their assigned Academic Advisor for assistance.

Services include:

  1. Recruiter Visitation Schedules with dates when university representatives visit to answer questions and provide admissions information;
  2. Annual Fall Semester Transfer Fair when up to 60 universities provide admissions information;
  3. Education Express field trip visits to four-year universities;
  4. Transfer-themed workshops providing insights for a successful transfer;
  5. Transfer Guides/2+2 Transfer Plans providing information on courses to complete prior to transfer to the university. Some of the university Transfer Plans include:
    • Our Lady of the Lake University
    • St. Mary’s University
    • Sam Houston State University
    • Texas A&M University at College Station
    • Texas A&M University-San Antonio
    • Texas State University-San Marcos
    • University of Texas at Austin
    • University of Texas at San Antonio
    • University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
    • University of Northern Iowa
    • University of the Incarnate Word
  6. University applications and catalogs with specific information on admissions deadlines and academic program descriptions;
  7. Transfer scholarship information for the four-year universities.

Career Services


Career Services provides assistance in the areas of career exploration and job placement. All Advising Centers are available to assist students with career exploration and job placement. Students can visit with their assigned Academic Advisor for assistance.

Career services include:

  1. One-on-One Career Services including assessment, are available to assist students in matching career goals with academic majors. Other individual services include helping students conduct online job search and job search skills (i.e., resume writing, mock interview, contacting employers, etc.)
  2. Job Resources including books, magazines, videos, and Internet access, are available for students to research occupations, salaries, labor market data, employer information, job search processes, and transfer college information.
  3. Career and Job Fairs both on- and off-campus, are coordinated annually to allow students the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge on careers and interview for jobs.
  4. Internships both on- and off-campus, are coordinated with community businesses to enable students the opportunity to gain valuable experience and potential employment.

Counseling Services


The Counseling Services Center provides all students with comprehensive services designed to enhance their ability to define and attain academic, career and personal goals. Students are encouraged to speak with a counselor to develop strategies that will promote academic success and personal success.

Professional counseling is available for day and evening students. All counseling is confidential. Individual counseling, small group discussions, seminars and workshops provide students with information and strategies in the following areas:

Personal Counseling

Counselors can assist students in individual counseling with issues such as depression, domestic violence, academic problems, relationships, mental health and other personal matters that may affect educational goals. In addition, counselors provide referrals to professionals, community agencies, and resources not available at PAC, when necessary.

Crisis Counseling

Crisis intervention services are available to assist with psychologically based urgent situations. Such interventions may include involvement with other agencies, health care professionals, and law enforcement personnel.

Student Success Courses (SDEV 0170, 0171, 0370 and EDUC 1300)

Counselors teach the Student Development Courses EDUC 1300 (College Success) and SDEV 0370 (Foundations for College Learning) courses. These classes are taught in the traditional classroom setting, but can also be taught over the Internet. All students entering Palo Alto College with fewer than 15 college-level semester credit hours are required to enroll in either EDUC 1300 or SDEV 0370. A benefit of the traditional classroom and Internet formats is the ongoing access of students to a counselor who offers guidance and support throughout the semester. One of the functions of the course is to connect students with their assigned Advisor and complete an Individual Success Plan (ISP).

Counselors also teach SDEV 0171: Strategies for Success, for students placed on academic probation, continued academic probation, and/or financial aid suspension. Counselors can be reached by visiting the Counseling Center, calling 486-3333 or visiting the website at

International Student Services


Palo Alto College hosts students from many regions of the world. These students represent countries such as Mexico, South Korea, Vietnam, India, Colombia, Japan, Thailand, Morocco, Brazil, Mongolia, and Nepal. All persons seeking admission holding non-permanent F-1 visas will be processed as International Students. The Designated School Official assists prospective international students with admission application and I-20 Application. The Designated School Official is located in the Admissions and Records Office in the Palomino Center.

Student Support Services Program TRiO


TRIO Student Support Services Program (PASSKey), located in the Palomino Center, Room 116, is a retention program funded by the U.S. Department of Education and is designed to:

  1. Increase college retention and graduation rates of eligible students.
  2. Increase the transfer rates of eligible students from two-year to four-year institutions.
  3. Foster a supportive climate of success for low-income and first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities.

Student Support Services participants must meet the established federal criteria of academic under-preparation, first-generation college, low-income and/or a disability as defined by the ADA. Students enrolled in the Student Support Services program have particular academic, personal, and social needs that may become a deterrent to their academic success.

One of the key components is the Individual Plan for Success (IPS) designed to develop a holistic personalized plan of action that will assist each student with transition to college and to the university and/or work. Student Support Services’ retention initiatives incorporate a broad, flexible system of supportive services.

Description of services:

  • Academic and career counseling
  • Financial aid preparation and securing of educational funds
  • Registration assistance
  • Academic advising
  • Access to cultural events and activities
  • Referral and assistance with campus services and resources
  • Assistance in securing community resources to resolve issues relating to health, relationships, and financial needs
  • Linkages with colleges and universities, professionals, and other students nationwide
  • Computer and Internet access
  • Supplemental Instruction for developmental Math and College Algebra.

In addition to the services outlined above, weekly student success workshops are offered on:

  • Stress management
  • Test-taking strategies
  • Money management and budgeting
  • Healthy families
  • Budgeting your time
  • Career exploration
  • Resume writing
  • Essay writing
  • Transferring to a four-year university
  • Getting organized

Tutoring Services


INRW Learning Center (INRWLC)

The INRW Learning Center (INRWLC) provides free tutoring to all students enrolled in INRW courses at Palo Alto College. ESL and English 1301+ students are also welcome to come in for assistance. An INRW academic program specialist and tutors provide individual and small-group tutoring, as well as weekly question-and-answer workshops on various topics. Exam reviews are also offered. Computers and a printer are available. The INRW Learning Center is located in Nueces Hall, Room 114. For more information, call 486-3262.

Math Learning Center (MLC)

The Math Learning Center (MLC) provides free tutoring to all students enrolled in math courses at Palo Alto College. A math academic program specialist and tutors are available on a “walk-in” basis. Weekly workshops on various math topics, as well as exam reviews, are offered. Computers and a printer are available to complete assignments. A limited number of graphing calculators are available to be checked out for the semester. The Math Learning Center is located in Gutierrez Learning Labs, Room 105. For more information, call 486-3273.

Science Learning Center (SLC)

The Science Learning Center (SLC) provides free tutoring to all students enrolled in science courses at Palo Alto College. A science academic program specialist and tutors are available on a “walk-in” basis. Weekly question-and-answer workshops are offered, as are exam reviews. The center has a number of models and practice lab exams to assist students with their coursework. Computers and a printer are available. The Science Learning Center has two locations: Frio Hall, Room 111, and Brazos Hall, Room 126. For more information, call 486-3281 or 486-3232.

Writing Assistance Center (WAC)

The Writing Assistance Center (WAC) provides free tutoring to all students enrolled at Palo Alto College. A writing academic program specialist and tutors are available on a “walk-in” basis. They help students with writing assignments for any course. Assistance is offered at any stage of the writing process - from brainstorming to final draft. Students may also receive help with other writing tasks, such as resumes, scholarship essays, and college entrance essays. Weekly question-and-answer workshops are offered, as are exam reviews. A variety of writing resources, including informative handouts, are also offered free of charge. Computers and a printer are available. The Writing Assistance Center is located in Gutierrez Learning Labs, Rooms 102 and 104. For more information, call 486-3257.

Special Programs

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Biomedical Science and Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine

Palo Alto College is one of only a few community college in Texas with an agreement allowing its students to complete a prescribed degree plan and automatically be admitted to the Biomedical Science program in the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine at College Station. Students must meet general admission requirements for Texas A&M University, must maintain no less than a 3.6 GPA in courses taken at Palo Alto, be eligible for graduation from Palo Alto, and must not have made any grade below a “B” in all of the Common Body of Knowledge science and math course work. The transfer agreement took effect with the Fall 2001 semester. For a detailed degree plan, contact the STEAM Advising Center, located in the Palomino Center, Room 114.

The Biomedical Science program, the largest undergraduate major at Texas A&M University, is a pathway to careers such as medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, nursing, education, and many other related fields.

Veterans Affairs


The Office of Veteran Affairs offers assistance to students receiving educational assistance under one of the public laws for veterans and/or their dependents.Students utilizing Veteran Affairs benefits should contact theVeteran Affairs Office before registration to obtain information regarding enrollment and specific requirements for the institution to process certification of attendance. This also applies to the Hazlewood Exemptions.

New student veterans are required to declare a major and provide official transcripts from every institution attended, including appropriate military transcripts (Joint Services Transcript for the Army, Marine Corps and Navy, and CCAF for Air Force).

Students using VA benefits and the Hazlewood Exemptions must notify the Office of Veterans Affairs of any registration or program changes.

NOTE:You must notify the Office of Veteran Affairs each semester/term regarding courses in which you are enrolled.

Student Support Services and Resources - Palo Alto College (2024)


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