AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will offer free tuition to students whose gross family income is less than $100,000 starting in fall 2022.
It’s the highest income threshold for free tuition at a public university in the state, and it ties for the highest threshold in the country.
According to College Promise, four other universities in the country offer the same threshold, but not for all four years, like UTRGV.
It’s known as UTRGV Advantage, and it’s not new. Last year, the school offered the program for students whose family income was $95,000 or less.
Students like Aissa Rodriguez say the aid is a huge stress relief.
“Just knowing you can comfortably focus on your studies, on your grades. Knowing that the university has your back…you won’t have to be looking for multiple jobs or possibly get a loan or having to pay out of pocket,” Rodriguez said.
“I’m actually majoring in biology. And that’s like, it’s been a dream of mine to always become a PA [physician assistant],” Rodriguez said.
UTRGV Associate Vice President for Strategic Enrollment Griselda Castilla explained the other requirements for the program.
“They have to do [a] financial aid application, enroll 15 hours and maintain that 2.5 GPA,” Castilla said.
Other schools across the state offer similar programs, just not as much, for all four years.
Texas State University offers a similar promise for students with a family income of less than $50,000. Texas A&M University offers to cover tuition for those whose income is less than $60,000.
Texas Tech University and UT Austin both have their thresholds set at $65,000 or less. For West Texas A&M University, it’s $80,000.
UTRGV explained their program has helped with recruitment.
“Especially during the pandemic, a lot of colleges and universities had enrollment decreases. Here at UTRGV, we had a significant enrollment increase, we had over an 11% enrollment increase,” Castilla said.
UTRGV said to pay for the program, the university uses part of the collected tuition that Texas universities are required to collect for student financial aid.