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The Prospector

Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

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UTEP continues to prove they are one of the most affordable colleges in Texas

Eduardo Ibarra
In order to qualify for the paydirt program, you must be a Texas resident and have completed a FASFA by March 15.

UTEP’s Paydirt Promise Program hopes to calm students’ worries of not being able to afford college. UTEP says they are committed to staying true to their mission statement of, “Make exceptional, affordable education accessible to anyone with the ambition to learn and the drive to succeed.”  

Unlike other schools across Texas, UTEP expanded their promise program to include all undergraduate students, as well as raising the limit of the adjusted gross income to $80,000. The Office of Student Financial Aid is promoting the Paydirt Promise Program for students who qualify.  

Vice President for Enrollment Management at UTEP, Amanda Vasquez-Vicario, Ph.D., explains the Paydirt Program is not a scholarship, and does not need to be paid back. 

The requirements include being a Texas resident, completing FAFSA before March 15, be a full-time student with 12 credit hours and a GPA of 2.0 and higher.  

“Paydirt Promise is a financial aid program. At UTEP we started with a former version of this program that was called the UTEP Promise, over time it evolved,” Vasquez-Vicario said. “Most recently, this year, we increased one of the income thresholds of the Paydirt Promise program to $80,000.” 

Students across campus rely on FAFSA to make their payments. Electrical engineering major, Christian Rivera, comments without financial aid, he would not be able to pursue his higher education. 

“My family is paycheck to paycheck, so without any financial aid, I wouldn’t be able to go into college,” Rivera said. “FAFSA, at the most, pays for most of my classes but sometimes I still have to pay out of pocket.” 

UTEP recognizes that inflation has made it difficult for some families to adjust to higher prices.  

“One of the things that UTEP really values is affordability, there are a lot of students out there who may not think that they can afford higher education. Paydirt Promise Program has been essential to students who may not know whether they can afford higher education to be able to come to UTEP,” Vasquez-Vicario said. “We recognize that things like inflation will affect families, so what a family used to be able to pay for with $80,000 ten years ago, they can’t pay for anymore.” 

Because of inflation, Rivera is thankful that UTEP has increased the adjusted gross income for families. 

“I am grateful for what UTEP has done, you know a lot of us, especially right now since everything has been way more expensive,” Rivera said. “Everything is more demanding and in order to actually fill in the economy’s shoes they’re (United States) forcing us into, I’m glad that we have more, I guess, leg room to be able to have this opportunity to get into college.” 

To encourage the efforts of people wanting to pursue higher education, UTEP is determined to make sure that they can do so comfortably. However, the deadline for the Paydirt Promise Program is soon approaching on March 15.  

To find out more information about the Paydirt Promise Program and whether a student qualifies, information is available on UTEP’s Office of Student Financial Aid page. 

Sofia Sierra is a staff reporter and may be reached at[email protected]   

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About the Contributors
Sofia Sierra, Web/Copy Editor
Sofia is a junior studying multimedia journalism with a minor in creative writing. She is the web and copy editor at The Prospector. After graduation, she hopes to work outside of El Paso to continue to grow as a writer.
Eduardo Ibarra, Contributor/Photographer
Eduardo Ibarra is a senior at The University of Texas at El Paso expected to graduate in fall of 2024. He is a contributor at The Prospector. His major is multimedia journalism with a minor in film studies. He would like to dedicate my life as a photojournalist and multimedia journalist either working in a newspaper or a major news station. He would also pursue to earn a MFA in Photography at UNM so he can teach photography and film studies at university level. It is his dream job along working with Reuters as a photojournalist in Spain, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and New Zealand.
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