Before the South Texas College District began operations in 1993, the Hidalgo-Starr County area was the only area in the state of Texas with a population of nearly half a million people not served by a community college. South Texas College was created on September 1, 1993, by Texas Senate Bill 251 to serve Hidalgo and Starr Counties. It is the only community college in Texas to be established by the Texas Legislature.

A confirmation election, held on August 12, 1995, established a taxing district for the College. Seven districts, based on population, were also approved for single-member representation on the Board of Trustees. A community leader from each of the seven districts was originally appointed by Governor Ann Richards to serve on the founding Board of Trustees. Since May 2000, elections have been held for all of the seats and all members have been elected.

From its inception, STC was mandated by the State Legislature to provide service to residents of Starr and Hidalgo counties. Meeting the population’s need for postsecondary education - and the rapid institutional growth experienced by STC in the process - has been an enormous but vital task. It is the one for which the College was founded and charged by the State Legislature, and it is one to which the College is committed.

South Texas College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award the Baccalaureate and Associate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of South Texas College. It is also approved for veteran's educational training in Certificate and Associate of Applied Sciences Degree programs by the Texas Education Agency.

Since its inception, STC has always been committed to the planning process. STC’s initial planning efforts can be traced to December 1992, when the Steering Committee for the proposed South Texas Community College commissioned Dr. Alfredo G. de los Santos Jr. to prepare a proposal to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for the creation of a community college in Hidalgo and Starr Counties. The proposal was submitted in April 1993.

In November 1993 STC began its formal planning process with the establishment of a committee charged with developing a mission and purpose for the College. This committee was composed of STC trustees, faculty, staff, and community members from both Hidalgo and Starr Counties. The committee met from February to March 1994 and developed a mission statement and purpose for the College which were presented to the Board of Trustees for approval on April 14, 1994

Since that time, STC has continued the strategic planning process and has developed an institutional effectiveness cycle for each department. Ongoing planning efforts have included planning workshops and retreats and staff development across all areas of the college. The people of the district approved a bond issue of $98.5M in September 2001 to support continued growth and service through enlarged and improved facilities. These processes incorporate planned enrollment and program growth.

South Texas College changed its name from South Texas Community College in Fall 2004. STC, along with Brazosport College and Midland College, received Level II accreditation by SACS as the first Texas community colleges accredited to offer the Bachelor’s degree. The announcement was made on December 7, 2004 during the SACS annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. The three institutions were selected from among the state’s fifty community colleges to be part of a 10-year pilot project approved by the Texas Legislature in its last legislative session. South Texas College began offering the Bachelor of Applied Technology in Technology Management in Fall 2005.