Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS PHI THETA KAPPA?

What is Phi Theta Kappa?

"The purpose of Phi Theta Kappa shall be to recognize and encourage scholarship among two-year college students. To achieve this purpose, Phi Theta Kappa shall provide opportunity for the development of leadership and service, for an intellectual climate for exchange of ideas and ideals, for lively fellowship for scholars, and for stimulation of interest in continuing academic excellence. " Phi Theta Kappa

Today Phi Theta Kappa is the largest honor society in American higher education with more than 2 million members and 1,200 chapters located in all 50 of the United States, U.S. territories, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Germany, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, United Arab Emirates and Palau.

For more information visit the official Phi Theta Kappa webpage.

What are some of the benefits that Phi Theta Kappa members enjoy?

  • Members of Phi Theta Kappa may apply for more than $36 million in transfer scholarships, provided exclusively to Society members by more than 600 senior institutions.
  • FREE enrollment in The Transfer Database, used by hundreds of senior colleges and universities to recruit Phi Theta Kappa transfer students.
  • Members may connect to find cutting-edge services, programs and resources selected especially to meet their needs. The benefits, available to members free of charge, include:
    • Special offers from Phi Theta Kappa Partners.
    • Press release announcing your membership, sent electronically to a newspaper of your choice.
    • Letter of recommendation sent to a college admissions counselor or scholarship official.
    • Letter of recommendation sent to a potential employer.
  • All members of Phi Theta Kappa receive the prestigious Golden Key Membership Pin.
  • All members of Phi Theta Kappa receive the impressive Certificate of Membership.
  • All members of Phi Theta Kappa receive a wallet-size Identification Card.
  • Members of Phi Theta Kappa may affix the Society's Gold Diploma Seal, denoting Society membership, to their two-year college diploma.
  • Members of Phi Theta Kappa may have their membership in the international honor society noted on their transcript, contingent on their college's policy.
  • Civil Service Jobs Benefit
    Members applying for GS5 federal jobs and who completed a baccalaureate degree with superior academic achievement, as defined by the Federal Office of Personnel Management, would be upgraded to a GS7 classification, meaning an increase in starting salary over the GS5 grade. GS5 federal jobs are entry level jobs requiring completion of a baccalaureate degree or four years of study beyond high school.
  • Members of Phi Theta Kappa may wear the Society's golden monogrammed Honors Stole and Tassel, at college commencement exercises, available through purchase, contingent on college policy.

MEMBERSHIP

What are the eligibility requirements?

Each fall and spring semester an invitation for membership is extended by the Beta Epsilon Mu Chapter to eligible students at South Texas College.

To be eligible for membership:

  • you must be enrolled in a regionally accredited institution offering an associate degree program;
  • you must have completed at least 12 hours of coursework * that may be applied to an associate degree (part-time students may be eligible);
  • you must generally have a grade point average of 3.5;
  • you must receive an invitation to membership from the Beta Epsilon Mu Chapter of STC;
  • you must adhere to the moral standards of the society.

* Does not include Developmental or Technical courses. Please review the
Academic Transferable Courses list.

Do I have to maintain the 3.5 GPA?

After accepting membership, students are required to maintain a 3.25 cumulative Grade Point Average. If students fall below a 3.25 GPA, they will then be placed on probation for one academic semester. After this, failure to meet good standing requirements will cause membership and all membership privileges to be revoked.

How do I join?

Students are invited to accept membership based on the eligibility requirements. A letter with the Phi Theta Kappa's website and an access code are mailed to eligible members in order to complete the application process online. This letter will also include general information about the honor society and some of the benefits that accompany Phi Theta Kappa.

When can I join Phi Theta Kappa?

There is an enrollment period at the beginning of each academic semester in which invitations are mailed to eligible students. At this point, students, should they decide to, are asked to accept membership and pay the respective membership fees. An induction ceremony is then held to officially welcome all new members of Phi Theta Kappa.

Why did I receive a letter when I am not an eligible student?

Even though students are pre-screened before being invited to join Phi Theta Kappa, sometimes there are discrepancies. However, an unofficial transcript will be reviewed to determine eligibility status. Students must have the required 3.5 GPA and 12 earned credit hours towards an associate degree or are transferable to other universities, thus excluding developmental and technical degree courses.

What are the fees to join Phi Theta Kappa?

Students pay a one-time $59.00 membership fee. This includes $45.00 for Phi Theta Kappa International, $4.00 for Regional, and $10.00 for our local chapter. This fee is paid when students complete the application process online or by visiting at the Academic Excellence Office at the Pecan Campus to receive further details.

Is there a required orientation?

There are several informational orientation sessions that eligible students are notified about via mail and are highly encouraged to attend. These orientations are held at the Starr, Mid-Valley and the Pecan campuses. Students will learn more about how to determine eligibility, accept membership and opportunities that accompany Phi Theta Kappa. For eligibility verification students are asked to take an unofficial transcript to the orientation.

Can an STC Dual Enrollment student be a member of Phi Theta Kappa?

Yes, any Dual Enrollment student who has earned at least 12 credit hours towards an associate degree and has the required 3.5 GPA is eligible for membership.

Can my membership be revoked?

Students enjoy a life-time Phi Theta Kappa membership. However, members are to adhere to the morals standards stated in the constitution of the society and maintain the required 3.25 GPA. If members fall below the required GPA, they are given one semester of academic probation to return to good standing before membership and all privileges are revoked.

PARTICIPATION

How much of my time do I need to commit as a member of Phi Theta Kappa?

Members are highly encouraged to participate in all of the planned functions and events at either the local, regional, and/or international level. Even though participation is voluntary, Phi Theta Kappa's mission is to provide students opportunities in fellowship, leadership, service, and scholarship. These four hallmarks will allow members to be well rounded not to mention the opportunities that it provides for an enhanced resume full of experiences and accomplishments.

Can I still participate in events even if I'm unable to attend the regular scheduled meetings?

Yes, members will have access to agendas, minutes, and calendar of events that will be regularly posted at the Beta Epsilon Mu website. In addition, most information will also be disseminated via e-mail.

How can I track my membership points?

Members, based on their involvement, will be earning membership points that will entitle them to partial or full credit to pay for their graduation regalia. Any inquiries about credit points should be address to the membership officer. In addition, membership points may be reported on a monthly basis in order for members to track their involvement.

Does every STC campus have a chapter?

All Phi Theta Kappa members attending South Texas College are part of the Beta Epsilon Mu Chapter. However, each campus has a member liaison that will facilitate communication between BEM members attending that campus and the officers. In addition, an STC faculty and/or staff will also serve as co-Advisor to better serve members at that particular campus. The Beta Epsilon Mu chapter pledges to regularly conduct meetings and events at the off-site campuses.

Can members initiate events?

All BEM members are welcomed to suggest functions and activities that promote the society's four hallmarks. However, proposals should be properly submitted for consideration and approval observing a 4 to 6 weeks recommended timeline to ensure success.

GRADUATION

What do I need to do if I know that I am graduating?

There is a deadline that all STC students need to meet in order to participate and properly be recognized during their respective graduation ceremony. This graduation deadline is usually during the second week in April. Please contact the Admissions Office to ensure that your name is printed in the graduation program and to officially apply for graduation.

Where do I pick up my cap and gown for graduation?

The free-of charge caps and gowns are distributed by Student Life at each of the campuses. Please visit the graduation page for pick up times and locations and graduation ceremony information for each division.

What are the Phi Theta Kappa graduation regalia?

All Phi Theta Kappa members have the distinction of wearing the honor society's regalia during their respective graduation ceremonies. The graduation regalia include a gold honors stole, a key medallion, the double honor cord, and a gold tassel.

How do I buy the graduation regalia?

Phi Theta Kappa members graduating may purchase their regalia online through the official Phi Theta Kappa website. However, the Academic Excellence Office facilitates the graduation process and assists students in obtaining their graduation regalia to wear at the graduation ceremony. BEM graduates should pre-order their regalia at the Academic Excellence Office located at the Pecan Campus, Ann Richards Administration Building, Room X-105 by the second week in April.

How much is the regalia and how do I pay for it?

The graduation regalia total cost is $63 and consists of the following items: Gold Honors Stole $18, Key Medallion $22, Double Honor Cord $13, Gold Tassel $10. Members will then pay at the Cashiers to complete the order. Once pre-orders arrive, students will be notified by phone or via e-mail to pick up their regalia.

Will my official transcript have the Phi Theta Kappa seal?

At this point, transcripts do not reflect the Phi Theta Kappa seal. However, advisors will seal transcript and diploma if requested.

Am I still a Phi Theta Kappa member after I graduate from South Texas College?

Phi Theta Kappa offers a life-time membership. BEM members become alumni after they graduate and transfer to other universities. The University of Texas-Pan American has a Phi Theta Kappa chapter for transfer students. In addition, all universities have different honor societies that transferring students are encouraged to join.

SCHOLARSHIPS

Does UTPA offer a transferring scholarship for Phi Theta Kappa members?

Our sister university, The University of Texas-Pan American, offers transferring scholarships for Phi Theta Kappa alumni. BEM graduates must submit a completed application and meet the deadlines for scholarship consideration. The deadline for the fall semester is April 1st and for spring is October 1st. For scholarship application, deadlines, and additional details visit UTPA's scholarships website.

How much is the transfer scholarship when transferring to UTPA?

Based upon eligibility and availability of funds, BEM graduates may potentially be awarded up to $1500.00 per year when transferring to UTPA.

Do other universities offer transferring scholarship for Phi Theta Kappa members?

Yes, there are over 700 institutions in the U.S., the District of Columbia and Canada which offer approximately $36 million each year in scholarships to qualifying Society members. Visit a complete list of colleges and universities that offer scholarships to our members. For full detailed information about these scholarship offerings, including contact information, deadlines and awards, please log in to our transfer planning tool, www.CollegeFish.org by using the Phi Theta Kappa username and password. This robust site is designed to assist members in their transferring process.

QUESTIONS

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Students may contact any of the officers to receive more information regarding Phi Theta Kappa. In addition, the Beta Epsilon Mu chapter may be contacted at ptk@southtexascollege.edu