UT has a new program to cover tuition and fees

University of Tennessee interim President Randy Boyd will spend three days next week traveling the state to spread the word about the launch of next fall's UT Promise program.

Structured like the popular Tennessee Promise scholarship program, UT Promise is a last-dollar scholarship that covers tuition and fees for students with a household income of less than $50,000 a year. The application process is open to in-state students.

"We will be the only university system in the country that is able to offer something like this," Boyd said in a phone interview with the USA TODAY Network - Tennessee.

A new report by the Institute for College Access and Success shows about 55% of all Tennessee students across every college graduate with debt, with an average debt of $26,838.

The goal of UT Promise is to ensure students graduate without debt and future workers can earn a living to enhance the state's economy. Boyd said UT graduates are in high demand. Across the system, he said, 46% of UT students graduate with no debt.

"We want to make sure we retain the top talent we have," Boyd said.

The three-day tour will take Boyd to eight counties, nine high schools and six community events. From Monday through Wednesday, Boyd will make stops in Fayette, Madison, Obion, Shelby, Cumberland, Davidson, Hamilton and Knox counties.

He expects to speak to high school juniors and seniors during the school visits, while community events will include elected officials, University of Tennessee alumni and high school counselors and principals.

Program set to launch next year

The program launches in the fall of 2020 and does not have a cap on enrollment, Boyd said. He expects about 2,000 students to take advantage of the program in its first year.

Students will be able to use UT Promise if they attend an undergraduate program at one of the system's campuses. Students must be a recipient of the state's HOPE scholarship. The program will cover the tuition and fees after all other grants and federal aid is taken into account.

Students will need to complete eight hours of volunteer service each semester. 

Currently, incoming and transfer students will make up the 2020 class of UT Promise recipients, Boyd said.

The university has enough money to cover the costs of the launch of the program. But the University of Tennessee Foundation created the UT Promise Endowment to fund the program long term.

Boyd said the school's goal is to raise $100 million, and $17 million has already been raised.

For more information about UT Promise, visit tennessee.edu/ut-promise.

Source: Tennessean, by Jason Gonzales

The East Tennessee Economic Development Agency markets and recruits business for the 15 counties in the greater Knoxville-Oak Ridge region of East Tennessee. Visit www.eteda.org


Published September 26, 2019