A new $300 million endowment created by the University of Texas System regents will reduce the cost of higher education for some students. The fund will cover tuition at seven UT System universities, including the University of Texas at El Paso.
The other universities getting funds from the new Promise Plus tuition program include UT-Arlington, UT- Dallas, UT-Permian Basin, UT-San Antonio, UT-Rio Grande Valley and UT-Tyler.
The endowment is expected to generate the equivalent of $55 million to cover tuition for UTEP students.
“We know that public higher education is a catalyst for success. It expands opportunity for individuals and families and strengthens the economy in our region and our state, and our competitiveness, and builds the foundation for an educated, engaged citizenry,” said UT System Chancellor James Milliken, who announced the Promise Plus program at a press conference at UTEP Wednesday.
UTEP president Heather Wilson says the funds will allow UTEP to award an additional $2.3 million in scholarships every year.
“We are an exceptional research university that keeps the door open for any student willing to work for it. Even so, for our students, the greatest barrier to a life-changing education continues to be financial; it’s the cost,” she said.
About a third of the families of UTEP undergraduate students make $20,000 a year or less. About half are the first in their families to attend college. UTEP alumnus, state Sen. Cesar Blanco, says the funds will make a generational difference.
“I’m a second-generation UTEP grad. My father graduated from here. He really gave us an opportunity to rise up. And he instilled the values of the importance of education in our community. So I know, first-hand, endless opportunity that this institution brings to our careers and to our community,” Blanco said.
The new endowment funding will cover all tuition and fees for 450 additional students every year at UTEP.