SPREADING THE WORD: Cities, schools and media become UTPAdvantage partners
Contact: Melissa Vasquez, Senior Editor 956/381-3639
Posted: 02/23/2007
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The cities, school districts and local media are helping The University of Texas-Pan American spread the word about the UTPAdvantage, an initiative that will guarantee free tuition and fees to eligible students whose families earn $25,000 or less a year.

For their efforts, UTPA held a reception in their honor Feb. 22 at the Visitors Center where they were designated UTPAdvantage Partners.

Greeting the honorees was Dr. Blandina Cárdenas, UTPA president and Dr. John Edwards, vice president for enrollment and student services, who each thanked the city and school leaders, and the print and television media for their support in making sure that every South Texan has an opportunity at a college education.

"Thank you for coming and joining us in what I think is a celebration of what we hope will become a new spirit, a new ethic, and a deeply felt change in the concept of college throughout our Rio Grande Valley," Cárdenas said. "We are celebrating a partnership that we want to create, strengthen and nurture with the most important collaborators in our community."

UTPA partnered with 29 cities, 24 school districts, and 20 media outlets to get the message out through banners placed on main streets and high schools across the Valley about the tuition guarantee initiative that will assist an estimated 50 percent of students attending UTPA, who could qualify financially for this program.

"We want your help in getting this message out," Cárdenas said. "I want you not to think of this not just as a partnership but as a commitment."

City Partners include the following: Alamo, Alton, Donna, Edcouch, Edinburg, Falfurrias, Granjeno, La Feria, La Grulla, La Villa, Laguna Vista, Los Fresnos, Los Indios, Lyford, McAllen, Mission, Palmhurst, Pharr, Port Isabel, Premont, Primera, Raymondville, Rio Grande City, Rio Hondo, San Benito, San Juan, South Padre Island, Sullivan City, and Weslaco.

School District Partners are as follows: Donna ISD, Edcouch-Elsa ISD, Edinburg CISD, Harlingen CISD, La Feria CISD, La Villa ISD, Lasara ISD, Los Fresnos CISD, Lyford CISD, McAllen ISD, Mercedes ISD, Monte Alto ISD, Point Isabel ISD, PSJA ISD, Raymondville ISD, Rio Hondo ISD, Rio Grande City CISD, San Benito CISD, San Perlita ISD, Sharyland ISD, South Texas ISD, Valley View ISD, Webb CISD, and Zapata County ISD.

Media Partners include the following: American Consolidated Media, BMP Radio, Clear Channel Radio, El Mañana, El Periodico USA, Entravision Radio, FOX RIO, KGBT-TV (Channel 4), KNVO-TV (Channel 48), KRGV-TV (Channel 5); KTLM-TV (Channel 40), KVEO-TV (Channel 23), La Frontera, Rumbo, Televisa (XERV, XHAB), The Business Times of the Rio Grande Valley, The Monitor, The Pan American, Time Warner Cable, and Univision Radio.

The UTPAdvantage, tuition guarantee initiative will start fall 2007, and will cover the cost of tuition and fees for the regular academic year - fall and spring - for students who meet all of the following requirements: have a family income of $25,000 or less as reported on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid); are classified as a Texas resident; are enrolled 15 hours or more a semester; are enrolled as an undergraduate in a degree-seeking program; have filed the FAFSA for the upcoming academic year by the March 1 Financial Aid Priority Deadline; and are making satisfactory academic progress. UTPAdvantage is available for a maximum of eight semesters or until graduation, whichever occurs first.

UTPAdvantage is part of The University of Texas System's effort to make college more affordable for low-income students. The priority deadline to apply for financial aid at UTPA is March 1. For more information on the UTPAdvantage, visit or call 956/380-8787.