University of Texas promises free tuition to students with families earning up to $65K

AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- The University of Texas flagship campus will cover full tuition for any student whose family income totals $65,000 or less beginning in fall 2020.

UT Austin officials estimate the new financial aid commitment will cover tuition and fees for an estimated 8,600 students, or 24 percent of the undergraduate student body. Graduate students are not eligible.

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The University of Texas Board of Regents made the announcement Tuesday after a unanimous vote to establish a $160 million endowment from the state's Permanent University Fund, which includes money from oil and gas royalties earned on state-owned land in west Texas.

"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," Kevin Eltife, chairman of the UT System Board of Regents, said after the vote. "This will benefit students of our great state for years to come."

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In case you were wondering, the U.S. Census Bureau says the median household income in Texas in 2017 was just over $59,000.

"I am grateful to the UT System Board of Regents and Chairman Kevin Eltife for prioritizing students and investing in the future of our great state," said UT Austin President Gregory L. Fenves. "Chairman Eltife understands that college affordability is one of the most critical issues affecting all Texans. 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."

The new financial aid commitment will also provide assured tuition support to an additional 5,700 students from families that earn up to $125,000 a year.
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