Monday, April 19, 2021

By Victoria Brito Morales

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – UTRGV is offering former university students the opportunity to come to UTRGV to complete their degrees in one year.  

The UTRGV Recruitment and Scholarships Department received a $112,500 grant from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund to help reskill/upskill up to 75 displaced Texas students who have previously discontinued their higher education without completing a degree plan. The awarding agency is the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). 

Dara Newton, UTRGV associate vice president for Strategic Enrollment, said the grant allows the university to support former students who had begun work on a degree and were extremely close to completion, but due to family responsibilities, financial circumstances, or personal situations, made the decision to pause their education.  

“Making the decision to place your college education on hold is hard, but the reskilling grant makes it easier to return and complete your degree,” Newton said. “Now, more than ever, we know that a bachelor’s degree is important and provides the credentials needed to flourish in industry.” 

The THECB, which provided the grant to UTRGV in December, has provided $46.5 million for public two- and four-year higher education institutions in the state that applied for funding.

To be eligible for this grant students must: 

  • Be a Texas resident eligible for in-state tuition as determined by the institution. 
  • Have filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 
  • Have a financial need and are eligible for federal Title IV aid. 
  • Be enrolled full or part-time. 
  • Have affirmed they have been affected by COVID-19. 
  • Have not been enrolled in an accredited postsecondary institution in the previous academic semester or previous six months.  
  • Be within 12 months of completing their credential program. 

Additionally, the grant is only offered to students from the following approved programs and majors:  


  • Business- and engineering-related degrees, such as accounting, economics, entrepreneurship, finance, information systems, management, marketing, computer science, computer engineering, hospitality and tourism, engineering technology. 
  • Health-related degrees: addiction studies, clinical laboratory sciences, communication disorders, dietetics, exercise science, health, kinesiology, nursing, nutritional sciences, rehabilitation services.
  • Education-related degrees, such as early care and early childhood studies, elementary education, bilingual education, interdisciplinary studies. 
  • Social Service-related degrees such as social work, criminal justice, sociology, psychology. 


These funds are “last dollar awards” and are intended only for tuition and fees. Funding is limited and awarded based on need.  

“This will really help support many students who have been affected by the COVID pandemic and who want to finish their education, to help them enter new careers,” said Carlo Tamayo, UTRGV associate director of outreach. 

For more information or assistance, contact Tamayo at


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.