Tuition hike to impact incoming UTRGV students

UTRGV held three commencement ceremonies yesterday at the Harlingen Convention Center. An array of emotions was seen on the student’s faces as they entered the room and walked to their seats. Maricela Rodriguez/Valley Morning Star

EDINBURG — Incoming fall 2020 students at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley can expect to shell out a little more money for their degree after a decision made by the University of Texas board of regents last month to increase tuition systemwide.

The board approved a 7% increase over four years for fixed rate institutions, like UTRGV, and a 2.6% annual increase for variable rate institutions, expected to total at least 10.4% at the end of the four-year period.

“In the long run, our Fall 2020 incoming freshmen, who will be affected by the 7% increase, will experience less of an increase in tuition over four years than students who pay variable tuition,” UTRGV President Guy Bailey said in an email detailing the increase. “We want to be the best value school in Texas by providing a high-quality education at an affordable price. We will still be able to do that with this set increase.”

The change will affect students matriculating to the university this January; current students will not be impacted by the increase.

University spokesperson Patrick Gonzalez said current students who take 12 credit hours at UTRGV pay $4,068; the increase will raise that figure to $4,461. He said the increase is expected to generate an additional $4.5 million for UTRGV.

Gonzalez added that the tuition increase will not affect the university’s tuition cap policy, which allows students to take over 12 credit hours for the price of 12.

“So that’s why we have a lot of students taking 15 and 18 hours, because after 12 hours we stop charging for classes,” he said. “So that’s another one of our tuition incentives that not too many people implement.”

According to Bailey, the increase will not affect the university’s Tuition Advantage program either, which will cover tuition and mandatory fees for students with a family adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less.

“Two important things to remember is that this set increase will not affect current UTRGV students nor the promise we made with our Tuition Advantage program,” Bailey wrote in the email. “Tuition increases are inevitable to properly operate our university year after year, but we have done an excellent job of implementing programs and incentives to maintain UTRGV’s affordability.”

UTRGV previously raised tuition in 2015 and 2018. Gonzalez noted that previous increases were decided on at the institutional level, but that the November increase was implemented at a systemwide level with university officials supporting the increase to keep up with inflation.

“Every two years they address the inflation. Their number one goal is to keep student tuition affordable for the students,” he said. “This year was really the first year the system took control of it.”