EDINBURG, Texas — With the first week of falls classes at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley almost over, the UT Chancellor visited the Edinburg campus to discover how students and faculty are handling the return to school with the majority of classes online. 

He said he’s impressed with the university’s efforts to students on track for graduation. 

“They’ve certainly done an enormous amount to address those challenges, whether through peer advising, peer mentoring programs, whether the $95,000 guaranteed to provide additional assistance,” James Milliken said. “We know one of the primary reasons students drop out is financial.”  

Of schools in the UT system, UTRGV has the highest percentage of first-generation students and Pell Grant recipients, which Milliken said makes the circumstances especially difficult. 

He added he hopes universities will receive extra support in the upcoming legislative session. 

“It’s going to be really important for us as the UT system to represent our institutions well, and make the case in Austin for how important these institutions are to the economy and vitality of the region,” he said.  

Although students are itching to get back to in person classes and campus activity, Milliken said they understand the need to do their part.  

“When I walked across campus by the bursar’s window, I saw a lot of students,” he said. “Everybody was in a mask. Everybody was physically distanced. Everybody was taking responsibility for each other.”  

He added plans are in place to meet whatever challenges may arise as the semester progresses. For now, UTRGV officials said the priority remains the community’s health and safety.