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AmeriCorps at UTRGV gets grant increase to expand its services to Edinburg Campus

Participation in MLK Day activities this year saw more than 200 UTRGV student volunteers participating in a variety of community projects in the Brownsville area. Here, two AmeriCorps student volunteers, Ann Jacobo and Ana Ramirez, picked up litter at the Old City Cemetery in Brownsville on MLK Day this year. (UTRGV Archive Photo by David Pike)

By Vicky Brito

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – MAY 17, 2016 – AmeriCorps at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley has received an increase in grant funding that will subsidize expansion of the program to the Edinburg Campus.

The grant originally was awarded in the amount of $1.8 million through the 2017-2018 academic year. However, to keep pace with the growth of the new distributed university, the grant was increased to $2.5 million.

AmeriCorps started at UTRGV legacy intuition UT Brownsville/Texas Southmost College in 2009. Daniel Yarritu, program director of AmeriCorps at UTRGV, said the increase allows for the program to double in size and can now subsidize 80 members on both campuses.

AmeriCorps members help high school seniors with the college enrollment process, including admission applications, testing, academic advising, financial aid, orientation and registration. They also facilitate workshops for parents and serve as higher education liaisons for students in area school districts.

The program serves the six high schools in the Brownsville Independent School District, three in the McAllen ISD and three in the Edinburg ISD.

“Thanks to the increase, now we were able to expand the program to Edinburg and now we are serving the entire UTRGV territory,” Yarritu said. “We are partnered with the Valley’s biggest feeder districts.”

About 4,000 high school students across the Rio Grande Valley have benefited from AmeriCorps since 2009.

“The AmeriCorps members facilitate access to higher education,” Yarritu said. “We help 12th-graders with everything that has to do with enrollment applications, FAFSA, registering for college tests. And we help them apply for various scholarships.”

“We help the students with wherever they want to go to university, but the majority end up coming to UTRGV,” Yarritu said.

For more information on AmeriCorps or to apply, visit www.utrgv.edu/americorps or contact Yarritu at (956) 882-7890.

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