120,712 UTRGV students have benefitted since 2015

  Monday, July 11, 2022
  Around Campus

By Amanda A. Taylor-Uchoa

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – It has been 50 years since the Pell Grant program was created to help expand college access to students who otherwise may not have been able to afford pursuing a higher education.

A recently published Forbes.com article says Pell Grants have supported 80 million students since the program’s inception in 1972.

UTRGV President Guy Bailey said the Pell Grant is one of the most significant financial aid programs in the history of higher education, and that its impact rivals that of the GI Bill of 1944.

“The impact of the Pell Grant has positively transformed the landscape of higher education and will continue to do so,” Bailey said. “We are grateful that so many UTRGV students continue to benefit from this life-changing program.”

Pell Grants have helped ensure that more than 120,000 UTRGV students have had access to a college degree since the university first opened in 2015. That totals almost $575 million awarded to UTRGV students to help them pursue their college goals from 2015 to 2022.

For the 2021-2022 academic year – not including 2022 Summer II semester distributions – UTRGV already has awarded more than $86 million, which has helped more than 18,000 students.

Bailey said Pell Grants not only are investments in students, but also help invest in the economy and future of local communities.

“One of our biggest goals at UTRGV is to make sure higher ed is accessible to all and to always be able to provide ample financial support to our students,” Bailey said. “UTRGV awards more Pell Grants than most universities in the country. With that assistance, our students are able to plan their futures and graduate on time without the burden of substantial student debts.”

The Forbes.com article reports that, with nearly 7 million students in America needing assistance for college this year, Pell Grants can help open opportunities for students for generations to come. Pell Grants are responsible for significant increases in college graduation, compared to students who did not qualify for assistance.

According to Forbes.com, students who received a Pell Grant are 13 percent more likely to graduate from college and will have 5 to 8 percent more earnings in their careers.

Magdalena Hinojosa, senior vice president for Strategic Enrollment and Student Affairs, said Pell Grants can be essential for students to achieve their academic goals.

“As a Pell Grant recipient myself, I know firsthand the vital importance of receiving these grants,” she said. “Pell Grants play a huge role in breaking the barriers to pursuing and completing an education.”



Pell Grants are awarded to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor’s or professional degree, with eligibility based on a student’s FAFSA results. What sets Pell Grants apart from other forms of financial assistance is that the grants do not have to be repaid.

Kelsey Silva, a UTRGV Spring 2022 graduate who earned her bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Services, said that without Pell Grants, she may not have been able to complete her degree.

“The Federal Pell Grant helps students not stress about finding funds to pay for college,” she said. “It encourages them to continue their education. And one of the great incentives is that it does not have to be paid back by the student, unlike federal loans.

“Without the grant, I would not have been able to attend college and achieve my academic goals,” said Silva, who has been receiving Pell Grants since 2017.

All UTRGV students who are awarded a Pell Grant must be making satisfactory academic progress, and they do not have to be registered full time to receive these grants. Each Pell Grant amount is determined by the maximum set by the U.S. Department of Education, the Expected Family Contribution (EFC Number) and enrollment status.

Summer Pell Grants also are available to students, regardless of whether they were awarded Pell Grants for Fall or Spring semesters. Summer Pell Grants require students to be eligible for a Pell Grant, be enrolled in at least six hours during the summer semester, and to meet all Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements.

For more information on Pell Grants and other financial assistance available at UTRGV, visit here.


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.