An injection of $160 million from the University of Texas System Board of Regents to the University of Texas at Austin means students from families making up to $65,000 per year will have their tuition costs completely covered at the flagship university.
The board of regents voted unanimously on July 9 to allocate the funding to UT to expand its Texas Advance Commitment, a program launched in 2018 that expands financial aid to make UT more affordable for more state residents.
Kevin Eltife, chair of the board of regents, said at the July 9 meeting that the vote was the most consequential action he has been a part of in his two-and-a-half years on the board.
In a letter written to the UT community, university president Gregory Fenves said the action “is an investment in the future of our students” and “one of the largest commitments ever made to improving college affordability among the nation’s leading public research universities.”
“You should be proud. I couldn’t be prouder,” Fenves wrote.
In addition to covering tuition costs for students from families making up to $65,000, the University of Texas will provide some amount of guaranteed aid for students from families making up to $125,000. Previously, Fenves told the board of regents, those thresholds were set at $30,000 and $100,000, respectively.
The money for the endowment come from the UT System’s Permanent University Fund. According to the UT System website, that money is generated by the UT system’s ownership of 2.1 million acres of land in West Texas that produces income from oil and gas bonuses as well as “surface income” including grazing leases and a commercial vineyard and winery.
The new levels of financial aid will begin in the fall semester of 2020, according to the letter from Fenves.