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UT Austin to give free tuition to low-income Texas students

Wednesday, July 10, 2019 by Claire McInerny, KUT

The University of Texas System Board of Regents voted Tuesday to offer full tuition assistance to more UT Austin students, adding $160 million to an endowment to help cover costs.

Undergraduates from Texas who come from families making up to $65,000 will have their tuition and fees covered for all four years. Texas students whose families make up to $125,000 will get partial assistance. In-state tuition is about $10,000 a year.

“College affordability is one of the most important issues facing families of middle and low income,” UT President Greg Fenves said, “and being able to provide this level of financial support will enable more students with need to be able to come to UT Austin.”

Fenves said the board chose $65,000 as the threshold because the median household income in the state is about $60,000.

“We wanted to have a program that would encompass more than half the families in Texas,” he said.

Under state law, 90 percent of freshmen must be from Texas. UT predicts almost a quarter of current undergrads from Texas would qualify for full assistance. The aid will go into effect in fall 2020.

“This will benefit students of our great state for years to come,” Board Chairman Kevin Eltife said after the vote.

Fenves started the Texas Advance Commitment program in 2016. Current students receive full tuition assistance if their families make up to $30,000 a year, and partial assistance if their families make up to $100,000. More than 4,000 students receive funding through the program.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT. Photo by Martin do Nascimento/KUT.

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