UT giving eligible incoming freshmen $20,000, free laptops

AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- Friday, UT announced a partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to close the gap in college graduation rates across income levels, called the Dell Scholars program.

The partnership will dramatically expand individualized support services for all Pell-eligible students at the university and additional financial support for those with the greatest financial need.

With a commitment of $100 million over 10 years, the Dell Foundation will work with the university to ensure Pell-eligible students have access to resources to help them complete their degrees at the same rates as higher income peers.

The grants are awarded to students with a high level of financial need, with more than two-thirds being awards to families with incomes of $30,000 or less each year.

The program will begin in the fall of 2020, and incoming Pell-eligible freshmen from families with the greatest need will become part of the Dell Scholars program.

Each Dell Scholar will receive a financial award of $20,000 over his or her time in college that can be applied to the cost of attendance, including room and board, transportation, supplies and other expenses.

If you live in Texas, this funding is additional to the university's Texas Advance Commitment, which guarantees aid to cover the full cost of tuition and fees for Texas families earning $65,000 or less each year.

READ MORE: University of Texas promises free tuition to students with families earning up to $65K
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Beginning in fall 2020, students admitted to the University of Texas from middle and low-income families will be given full scholarships.

The program recognizes that it requires more than just financial support to close the graduation rate gap, so eligible students will also receive ongoing individualized support from UT for Me.

This support includes many perks such as a laptop computer, financial aid coaching, financial literacy training, internship and career planning and more.

The program hopes to raise six-year graduation rates for eligible students from 73% to 90%, which would surpass the university's current overall six-year graduation rate of 86%.

"A college education has the power to change the life of a student and the future of their family and community," said UT Austin President Gregory L. Fenves. "As a result of our groundbreaking partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, The University of Texas at Austin is poised to increase opportunities for thousands of talented students whose potential to achieve will be met with unprecedented commitment, resources and support."

The program will begin serving freshmen this fall and add a new class of first-time college students each year.

To read more about the program, visit news.utexas.edu.

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