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In an effort to facilitate access to college, the University of Texas promised Tuesday to give full scholarships to undergraduates whose families make $ 65,000 or less annually.
The University of Texas System Board of Regents voted to create a $ 160 million grant from the State Permanent University Fund to offer the scholarships in the fall of 2020, according to a press release from the University. The money complements the existing federal and state financial aid programs.
The move will allow the university to fully finance the education of more than 8,600 students in the state, or about a quarter of the university's graduates, the publication said.
Endowment will also help alleviate a certain financial burden for an additional 5,700 government students from families with incomes of $ 125,000 or less. Some of the funding comes from oil and gas royalties earned on state-owned land in West Texas, the release said.
"We know all the struggles that hard-working families have to put their children through in school," said chairman Kevin Eltife of the Texas Tribune. "What we've done here has resumed an endowment to another endowment that will provide teaching aid to a lot of work families in Texas."
The university's decision comes as the idea of a free university education continues to gain legitimacy in the public eye. Several 2020 democratic presidential candidates, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have pushed for both free public college and student debt forgiveness as part of their platforms.
These plans have been met with a mix of skepticism and support – advocates have said that a free university education would smooth out the rules while critics question where funding to cover thousands of student expenses comes from.
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The New Program in Texas will cover ] student education and fees, but not extra living costs – are estimated to be nearly $ 17,000 for academic years 2019-2020. Tuition and fees alone were estimated at $ 10,314 for Texas residents.
"There is no major engine of social and economic mobility than a college degree, and this initiative ensures that more Texans will benefit from a high quality UT Austin education," said Chancellor James B. Milliken.
Behind the numbers
The gold standard for universities must have needs-mixed footage, which means that the institutions do not consider a student's financial condition when deciding on admission. Doctrine that uses the policy sometimes promises to cover 100% of students' financial needs through scholarships instead of loans.
For example, the former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg donated a $ 1.8 billion record to Johns Hopkins University last year to make the University an everlasting need, according to a statement he wrote to The New York Times.
"This will make admissions to Hopkins forever blindfolded; economies will never again feel in decisions," Bloomberg wrote, adding that he believed the contribution would make the school more socio-economically diverse and would ease the debt burden on candidates.
Despite this, even universities offering to cover students demonstrated financial assistance can leave students poor spending, which means students may still have to borrow or go into debt to fully fund their education.
This typically happens when a student's financial needs, calculated by the free application for federal scholarships, overestimate their actual ability to pay for college. Because of this, the "expected family allowance" has been criticized as an unrealistic estimate of how much money students or their families are expected to hand out to school.
But not all universities rely solely on EFC to calculate how much students owe – UT Austin is one of the institutions that had to set their own financial support standard even though they use information submitted through FAFSA to determine whether there is support for educational support.
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It is unclear whether UT Austin employs a needs-blind approach to admissions. But the school appears to be one of several selective institutions that have begun to offer fully-tuition scholarships to students for some income – for example, the University of Michigan began offering free education for in-state student students who did under $ 65,000 in January 2018.
And Rice University, a private institution in Texas, announced in 2018 that it would cover the full cost of subsidized education instead of student loans under $ 130,000 a year.
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