Tuesday, August 16, 2022

By Marisol Villarreal

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – The UTRGV Upward Bound Program recently was awarded $16 million in grants to help more than 600 high school students from across the Rio Grande Valley earn a college degree.

The five-year federal grants, submitted in the spring, were awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to nine Upward Bound programs from Rio Grande City to Port Isabel, all of which are affiliated with UTRGV.

Upward Bound is a federal, academic support program and is part of eight TRIO programs within the U.S Department of Education.

The TRIO Programs – administered, funded and implemented by the U.S. Department of Educationare federal outreach and student services programs designed to identify and provide services for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, including eight programs that assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities.

UTRGV serves as the fiscal agent for the grants and is responsible for providing high school students with all the services required of the Upward Bound program. It also helps students transition to higher education and provides a variety of educational opportunities to K-12 partner schools. 

“Upward Bound helps open the door to opportunities for Valley students who dream of a college education. With these grants we can continue offering a concentration of services to help build successful futures with strong academic foundations for current and future students,” said Cindy Valdez, associate vice president for College Access and K-12 Partnerships.

Rio Grande Valley partner schools benefiting from the grants include:

  • Edinburg-Economedes High School.
  • Mission High School.
  • Edcouch-Elsa High School.
  • Brownsville-Lopez High School.
  • Porter Early College High School.
  • Rivera High School.
  • Rio Hondo High School.
  • Port Isabel High School.
  • La Grulla High School.
  • Rio Grande City High School.
  • Raymondville High School.
  • Lyford High School.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, this new funding places UTRGV second in the nation in the number of grant awards and overall dollar amount and ranks first among university recipients of grant awards for the U.S. Department of Education Upward Bound grant opportunity.

The annual combined award for Upward Bound programs at UTRGV is $3.2 million for a five-year grant cycle from Sept. 1, 2022 to Aug. 31, 2027.

Upward Bound at UTRGV provides students from disadvantaged backgrounds, including students with disabilities or from low-income families, with academic enrichment through tutoring, enrichment sessions on Saturdays, and a mandatory six-week summer program that includes instruction in core courses such as English, math, science, a foreign language and college readiness.

The program supports students academically and supplements what they do in their high schools to help them pass from grade level to grade level, graduate high school and eventually enroll in college. 

For more information on the Upward Bound program, visit:  



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.