UT Promises Free College Tuition For Low-Income Students

Jordan Clements | United States

UT Austin has announced it will be providing free college tuition for low-income students. 

The board unanimously passed a resolution to use $160 million of its endowments to expand their financial aid. School officials expect that should cover tuition for students whose family income is up to $65,000 a year. UT will also alleviate costs for students whose family income is up to $125,000. 

Free Tuition from UT Austin

“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,” board Chair Kevin Eltife said in an interview after the vote. “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.”

This is a massive expansion of current UT financial aid that currently uses $3 million of its endowments for financial aid. The current policy guarantees tuition for students whose family income is $30,000, while the current Texas median income is $59,000.

About a quarter of UT students will be eligible for free tuition. Another 5,600 will get more assistance. 

UT was well known to have bad financial aid. However, this new plan has changed that perception as UT has been lauded for their planned assistance for low-income students.

Low-income students won’t get total relief from this plan. UT has said it won’t cover living expenses that typically cost around $17,000 a year. Tuition currently averages $10,314 for Texas residents.

The new financial aid plan will take effect in 2020.

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