AUSTIN – The University of Texas-Austin has announced that starting in 2020, the university will provide free tuition to undergrad students with family incomes below $65,000.
To provide this service, UT-Austin has said that they will use some of its oil money to expand the financial aid offered to low- and middle-class income undergraduates on its flagship Austin campus.
On Tuesday, the university’s governing board approved a special $160 million distribution from its endowment. With this money, the school expects to fully cover the tuition and fees for students whose families earn up to $65,000 gross income a year. The funding is expected to begin in 2020.
Along with the announcement, UT-Austin included that the funding will also be used to alleviate tuition costs for students whose families earn up to $125,000 annually if there is a financial need.
Board Chair Kevin Eltife said, “Our main focus at the UT system is our students. That’s it, that’s what we’re in business for is to provide an affordable, accessible education for our students.”
“We all know the struggles that hardworking families are having putting their kids through school. What we’ve done here is repurposed an endowment into another endowment that will provide tuition assistance to a lot of the working families in Texas.”
It was estimated that about a quarter of undergraduate students from Texas would have their tuition fully paid under the new plan, plus 5,700 would receive financial assistance.
It was noted that the program will not pay for living expenses for students, which was estimated to be approximately $17,000 for the academic year 2019-20.
In a written statement, UT-Austin President Greg Fenves stated, “Chairman Eltife understands that college affordability is one of the most critical issues affecting all Texans. Thanks to his leadership and the board’s action, this new endowment will go a long way toward making our university affordable for talented Texas students from every background and region.”