The University of Tennessee System will officially begin a campaign to permanently fund the UT Promise Scholarship during the inter-system football game between the UT Knoxville Volunteers and the UT Chattanooga Mocs, scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., Sept. 14, in Neyland Stadium.
The $100 million endowment campaign has already raised $17.5 million since March of this year. UT Promise scholarships will be awarded to qualified students across the UT System beginning with the fall 2020 semester, and the system will cover the cost until the endowment is fully funded.
UT Promise, unveiled in March by UT System Interim President Randy Boyd, is a last-dollar scholarship program that guarantees free tuition and mandatory fees for undergraduate students with a family household income of less than $50,000 annually. This scholarship will be applied after other financial aid – including Pell Grants, Hope Scholarships and other institutional awards – is received by students attending UT Knoxville, UT Chattanooga, UT Martin and the UT Health Science Center.
Students must qualify for the Hope Scholarship and meet the academic qualifications for the institution to which they have applied in order to be eligible for this new scholarship. Students will also be matched with volunteer mentors and must complete eight hours of service each semester to help ensure success.
While 46 percent of students in the UT System graduate without debt, the goal of UT Promise is to make higher education even more accessible and affordable for Tennessee students. UT Promise will welcome its first class in the fall of 2020, and the program will include those students who were already enrolled in college when the program begins.
“UT wants to ensure that Tennessee residents can achieve their dreams with college degrees,” said Boyd. “We want to ease the financial burden for the state’s middle and working-class families, as we know education is the route to change lives, which then change communities and the state.”
In addition to money raised through the campaign, proceeds from the sale of the Eugenia Williams house in Knoxville will go into the endowment, which will be formally known as the UT Promise Dr. David Hitt Williams Endowment in honor of Eugenia Williams’ father, whose will gave the house and acreage on the Tennessee River to the university upon his daughter’s death.
UT Promise is another tool the university is using to help the state’s Drive to 55 workforce development initiative, which aims to have 55 percent of Tennesseans equipped with a college degree or certificate by 2025.
For more information or to make a donation to the UT Promise endowment campaign, visit tennessee.edu/ut-promise.