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UT System Board, Chancellor deliver ‘Promise’ to help UTSA students pay for college
San Antonio – As part of its ongoing commitment to support The University of Texas at San Antonio and its rise as a nationally recognized public research university, the University of Texas System Board of Regents recently approved the creation of a new $300 million endowment to reduce the cost of higher education for undergraduate students and their families at UTSA and six other UT academic institutions.
UT System and UTSA leaders joined elected officials, business and community leaders and members of the campus community on the UTSA Downtown Campus Monday to share details of the Promise Plus program, which will greatly expand tuition assistance programs through annual distributions to the universities.
It is expected to generate about $3 million for UTSA this year, making it comparable to a $65 million endowment that will distribute tuition-relief funds to UTSA in perpetuity. This will enable hundreds more students to have their entire tuition covered at UTSA.
UTSA’s current tuition assistance program, Bold Promise, covers tuition for students whose families earn $70,000 or less and who graduate in the top 25 percent of their high school class. More than 1,700 students have enrolled in Bold Promise so far and another 3,800 have qualified for Fall 2022.
In 2019, the Board of Regents created a $167 million endowment to support students at UT Austin. At the time, Regents Chairman Kevin P. Eltife said he and the Board were committed to developing similar programs for all UT academic institutions.
“The Promise Plus program will expand educational opportunities here in San Antonio and across the state by making it possible for more students to earn a degree at no cost.” Eltife said. “There is a lot of talk about student debt, and we are doing our best to tackle it on the front end.”
The Promise Plus endowment will grow in value over time, increasing the allocation to UTSA and benefiting more students year after year.
“This will be a wonderful addition to UTSA’s Bold Promise tuition relief program and help eliminate barriers that keep many Texas families from accessing high-quality education,” UT System Chancellor James B. Milliken said. “Financial challenges should never stand in the way of any student who wishes to earn a UT degree, and I’m grateful to the Board of Regents for this new and important investment in our students.”
Funding from the Board of Regents continues to play a critical role in the university’s ascent, UTSA President Taylor Eighmy said.
“We are so appreciative of this transformational support for our Bold Promise program and the opportunity it gives our students to study, learn and succeed at UTSA without the worries of financial stress,” Eighmy said. “Education is an equalizer and prosperity driver, and we are committed to making UTSA’s resources, as a nationally recognized research university, available to even more students so they can build a better life for themselves, their families and our community.”
Funding from the new Promise Plus endowment will add to the almost $165 million that the Board of Regents has invested in UTSA over the last 10 years alone to help advance the institution’s plans to serve as a model for student success and as an economic engine for San Antonio and Texas. In December, UTSA announced that it achieved the prestigious Carnegie R1 Classification, indicating the university’s success in reaching significant benchmarks in research and academics and the highest levels of excellence, innovation and impact.
In just the last decade, the Board of Regents has contributed $114 million toward facilities to support education and research, including:
- Construction of the School of Data Science & National Security Collaboration Center, to help achieve UTSA’s goal of educating and training one million new cyber workers.
- Restoration of the Main Building to support an enhanced learning and working environment for students, staff and faculty.
- Construction of the Applied Engineering & Technology Building to support world-class research and teaching in science and engineering.
- Construction of the North Paseo Building to accommodate a growing student body and research enterprise with new classrooms, labs and administrative offices.
- Construction of the Science & Engineering Building to provide instructional and research labs and classrooms for brain health, engineering, biology and chemistry programs.
On top of that, Regents have provided $28 million to fund additional major repairs and upgrades to buildings, lab equipment and the addition of new technology and improvements to provide critical campus infrastructure.
Regents have also allocated more than $22.5 million to recruit and retain almost 50 notable UTSA faculty members through its successful STARs (Science and Technology Acquisition and Retention) program in the past decade. Historically, STAR recipients have generated additional research grants and support for UTSA that amounts to more than 10 times the Regents’ initial investment.
The UT System also has the full partnership of the Texas Legislature through its approval of $122 million in capital construction assistance (formerly called Tuition Revenue Bonds) for UTSA’s Science & Engineering Building and the Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Careers Building.
The recent momentum at UTSA has been celebrated and supported by the philanthropic community. In 2021, UTSA received three transformational gifts to drive student success, faculty and research initiatives. The gifts include: $40 million from MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett, $20 million to UTSA’s College of Business from Carlos and Malú Alvarez, and $20 million to UTSA’s College of Engineering and Integrated Design from Margie and Bill Klesse.
Funding for the UT System Promise Plus endowment was generated from a series of prudent investments by UT System financial officers that produced higher than expected returns this past fiscal year.
Full-time, undergraduate students who are Texas residents and qualify for need-based aid will be eligible to receive Promise Plus funds, which will be used to supplement federal and state aid such as Pell grants and TEXAS grants.
The other institutions who will benefit from the UT System’s new Promise Plus endowment include UT Arlington, UT Dallas, UT El Paso, UT Permian Basin, UT Rio Grande Valley and UT Tyler.
About The University of Texas System
For more than 130 years, The University of Texas System has been committed to improving the lives of Texans and people all over the world through education, research and health care. With 13 institutions, an enrollment of more than 243,000 students and an operating budget of $23.4 billion (FY 2022), the UT System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. UT institutions produce more than 67,000 graduates annually and award more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and more than half of its medical degrees. Collectively, UT-owned and affiliated hospitals and clinics accounted for more than 8.6 million outpatient visits and almost 1.8 million hospital days in 2020. UT institutions also are among the most innovative in the world, collectively ranking No. 4 for most U.S. patents granted in 2020, and the UT System is No. 1 in Texas and No. 2 in the nation in federal research expenditures. The UT System also is one of the largest employers in Texas, with more than 21,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies – and more than 85,000 health care professionals, researchers and support staff.