For many South Texas families, paying for college is a major expense. There is good news this week, however, from The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, announcing a free tuition program for students who come from households with incomes under $75,000. This initiative, called UTRGV Tuition Advantage, is set to relieve half of their 22,000 students from tuition bills. And funding is available for new, returning and transfer students, assuming certain academic requirements are met.

However, UT-RGV is not the only school that provides this kind of assistance to students and their families. The University of Texas at Austin has a program to cover tuition and fees for students from families making less than $65,000 a year, starting in 2020.

Texas A&M University has a program called Aggie Assurance, which is over 10 years old, that provides free tuition to students from families earning less than $60,000. So far, that program has helped over 33,000 students. The Texas A&M System also has a program called Regents Grants that help students with other financial hardships.

All across Texas, our colleges, universities, community colleges, trade schools and the like are making efforts to make college affordable. There surely is more work to be done, but as your family considers higher education for your loved ones, be sure to consider these new programs that aim to give Texas students a hand up. Be sure to consult with your institution to higher education to consider options to make a certificate, diploma or degree an option.