UTA has pledged to invest $25 million in student scholarships over the next five years beginning in Fall 2021, according to a university news release Tuesday.
These scholarships correlate with recent strategies the university released to combat racism and encourage diversity and inclusion on campus. Discussions on this began in the spring after financial needs increased for students as a result of COVID-19.
First-generation, low-income and high achieving students will be able to apply for these scholarships when they become available.
“At this time of great economic, social, and health imperatives, it is important that we as a university step up and ensure high-achieving students receive the support they need to excel in their chosen fields as they earn their degrees with us,” interim President Teik Lim said in the release. “This investment ensures that we nurture and support the diverse brain trust that will power our region and the state of Texas.”
The distributions will be broken down to $5 million per year for five years, said Troy Johnson, vice president of enrollment management. Adjustments may be made depending on fundraising and donations.
Philanthropic and institutional funds will be leveraged to support these future scholarships.
“This is a way to invest back in our students and help them continue on. And certainly with our goal to eradicate racism, to be very serious about equity and justice, this fits in very well,” Johnson said. “We know that it will make a difference for first-generation, low-income students and talented students from all backgrounds to have this support.”
The announcement also allows prospective students who are currently applying to UTA for Fall 2021 to see what the university has to offer them.
The scholarships will be aimed toward in-state residents, but details on if they’ll also be available to out-of-state residents are still being determined, Johnson said. There are currently other scholarship funds set aside for out-of-state students.
“It is important that our state retain more high-performing ethnically and racially diverse students whom many other states specifically seek to lure away,” Lim said. “We have the opportunity to align this financial commitment with efforts of keeping diverse talent in Texas.”
According to the news release, many out-of-state universities entice students with financial offers that they tend to accept.
“They're getting our best quality students a lot of times, and so it's really important that Texas step up and keep our best and brightest here,” Johnson said.
The university plans to award the scholarships based on student profiles who demonstrate that they have the academic credentials to be eligible, he said.
“When families are struggling for money in time and worried about things like they are now, the last thing they need are more hoops, more processes,” he said. “One of our goals is to try to make all of this as easy as possible.”
Between now and Fall 2021, the university will plan out further details and information regarding the scholarships.