BROWNSVILLE, Texas (KVEO) — UTRGV experienced record growth last year, joining eight other public Texas universities with an enrollment of over 30,000.
KVEO asked some students for their main reasons for enrolling.
Political Science Student Virginia Vasquez left UTRGV her senior year after she had her son in 2015.
“It was very difficult for me to kind of balance the work life and school life and mom life,” she said.
Vasquez re-enrolled in 2020 and is on track to graduate in the fall.
“I had thought about it, people were encouraging me all the time — my parents were telling me ‘just go back’,” said Vasquez.
The student said that because she works full time online classes gave her flexibility.
“Through the support of my family, husband, coworkers and friends, they helped me through it and I did very well this semester,” said Vasquez.
With many others in similar situations, enrollment for the fall 2020 semester increased by nearly 12 percent.
“We weren’t sure what to expect and we were seeing across the state and across the country, institutions were lagging behind,” Senior Vice President of Strategic Enrollment and Student Affairs Dr. Magdalena Hinojosa said.
In addition to the flexible schedule of classes with campuses closed, she said CARES Act funding was another reason for growth.
“We implemented some programs right away to help students ease the burden of attending school from a financial perspective,” she said.
On top of the overall growth, enrollment for graduate students saw an increase of 38%.
“It’s really nice that some of the classes are online, so I’ve been able to do that and work and it’s really convenient,” Master of Fine Arts Student Kaylee Hernandez said.
Hernandez completed the first year of the program and while she will have in-person classes in the fall, she said she is committed.
“It’s going to be worth it for me because it’s my education and I’m willing to take the steps — even if it’s a bit inconvenient, I’ll do it,” she said.
Vasquez added that she is expecting a difficult semester but it’s all for her family’s future.