The University of Texas at Austin will provide free tuition to some students from families who make less than $65,000, the university announced in a news release on Tuesday.
According to the release, the University of Texas System Board of Regents voted unanimously on Tuesday to establish a $160 million endowment to fund financial assistance, beginning in the fall of 2020.
The new endowment will “completely cover tuition and fees” for students from families making less than $65,000 a year and provide “some assured tuition support” to students from families making less than $125,000.
“Recognizing both the need for improved access to higher education and the high value of a UT Austin degree, we are dedicating a distribution from the Permanent University Fund to establish an endowment that will directly benefit students and make their degrees more affordable,” board chairman Kevin Eltife said. “This will benefit students of our great state for years to come.
The university also noted that the median household income in Texas was $59,206 in 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
According to the release, the new initiative will provide free tuition for more than 8,600 students each year, with additional support to another 5,700 students.
UT Austin President Gregory L. Fenves thanked the board for making the university more accessible to students from middle and low-income families.
“Chairman Eltife understands that college affordability is one of the most critical issues affecting all Texans,” he said. “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.”
According to the release, the new program builds on the university’s Texas Advance Commitment, which began in 2018 and provided free tuition to students from families earning up to $30,000 a year. About 4,000 students were supported during the 2018-19 school year, meaning the new initiative will more than double the number of students able to receive financial assistance.