Thursday, July 25, 2019

By News and Internal Communications

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – The Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation has awarded The UTRGV School of Medicine a four-year, $2.5 million grant for scholarships for medical students from the Rio Grande Valley. 

The School of Medicine plans to offer those scholarships starting with this year’s incoming first-year medical students, the Class of 2023. 

Each scholarship will cover 50 percent of tuition over four years to encourage more students from the area to stay and earn a medical degree, as well as to help them complete their medical education in four years and gain acceptance into one of The UTRGV School of Medicine’s residency programs upon graduation.

“We are grateful to the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation for its ongoing support of The UTRGV School of Medicine and medical students from the Rio Grande Valley,” said Dr. John H. Krouse, executive vice president for Health Affairs at UTRGV and dean of the UTRGV School of Medicine.

“These funds will allow us to recruit and retain more local talent to the School of Medicine. The Valley has some exceptional students. By offering them scholarships that cover half their tuition, they no longer have to leave the Valley to receive education and training to become physicians,” he said.

In keeping its promise to educate and train more students from the Valley, The School of Medicine hopes to enroll at least 25 students from the Valley each year – or 50 percent of each entering class. Currently, more than a third of the School of Medicine’s students are from the Valley.

In-state tuition for the School of Medicine is $18,298 a year, and out-of-state tuition is $31,398 a year, both among the lowest tuition for medical schools in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report.

“The grant awarded by The Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation will change the lives of local students aspiring to become physicians as it allows them to seek high-quality medical education,” said UTRGV President Guy Bailey.

“The grant also will have a lasting impact on our community, as these students receive immersive and innovative training – learning to care for the unique needs of our residents – with the ultimate goal that they will remain in the RGV to provide medical care,” he said.

The UTRGV School of Medicine currently has nine residency and four fellowship training programs and plans to add programs in the future. Since the School of Medicine began its residency training programs in 2015, 64 percent of graduates from those programs have stayed in the Valley to practice medicine. Since most physicians practice near where they completed their residency, The UTRGV School of Medicine hopes to enroll Valley medical students who meet academic standards into their residency training programs upon their graduation, so they likely remain in the area to practice medicine.

The grant lasts through June 30, 2023.

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The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.