UT System, UT Tyler leaders announce details of new ‘Promise’ to help students pay for college

$300 million endowment will build on Board of Regents’ ongoing support of UT Tyler

Tyler, Texas – As part of its ongoing commitment to support UT Tyler and its aspirations to improve the education, health care and economy of East Texas, the UT System Board of Regents recently approved the creation of a new $300 million endowment to reduce the cost of higher education for undergraduate students and their families at all UT academic institutions, including UT Tyler.

UT System and UT Tyler leaders joined elected officials, students and staff on the UT Tyler campus Monday to share details of the Promise Plus program, which will greatly expand tuition assistance programs at seven UT institutions.

UT Tyler’s tuition assistance program currently covers tuition for first-time freshman students whose families make less than $80,000. The Promise Plus endowment, which will make distributions to institutions annually, is expected to generate about $1 million for UT Tyler this year, making it comparable to a $22 million endowment. That will support UT Tyler in expanding the scholarship program to all incoming undergraduate students, making it possible for almost 200 more students to have their entire tuition covered. In future academic years, the scholarship program will be named Patriot Promise after the university’s athletic teams, the Patriots.

In 2019, the Board of Regents created a $167 million endowment to support students at UT Austin. At the time, Regents Chairman Kevin P. Eltife said he and the Board were committed to developing similar programs for all UT academic institutions.

“With the support of the education, business, civic and health care communities, UT Tyler has recently made great strides in its mission to transform lives, and this investment adds to the momentum,” Eltife said. “We are doing everything in our power to provide an affordable, accessible education to our students.”

The Promise Plus endowment will grow in value over time, increasing the allocation to UT Tyler and benefiting more students year after year.

“This will be a wonderful addition to UT Tyler’s tuition assistance program and help eliminate barriers that keep many Texas families from accessing high-quality education,” UT System Chancellor James B. Milliken said. “Financial challenges should never stand in the way of any student who wishes to earn a UT degree, and I’m grateful to the Board of Regents for this new and important investment in our students.” 

Funding from the Board of Regents is playing a critical role in the trajectory of UT Tyler, President Kirk Calhoun said.

Promise+ Infogrpahic for UT Tyler with the intro text on image: Regents created the $300 million  Promise+ endowment to expand  tuition assistance programs at  UT academic institutions. UT  Tyler will receive $1 million in the  first year alone, making it  possible for an additional 200  students whose families make less than $80,000 to have their  entire tuition covered.
Promise+ Infographic for UT Tyler.
Click on the image to download the PDF file.

“We are tremendously thankful for the continued support for UT Tyler students,” Calhoun said. “Expanding the Reach Higher Scholarship – which we will call Patriot Promise and extend to transfer students from our community college partners – deepens our impact and service throughout East Texas and beyond.”

Funding from the Promise Plus endowment will add to the more than $232 million that the Board of Regents has invested in UT Tyler and the UT Health Science Center at Tyler over the last 10 years alone to improve opportunities for teaching, learning and research and help establish the region’s first medical school.

Last year, Regents approved the unification of UT Tyler and UT Health Science Center at Tyler to create a single, integrated university to better serve the needs of East Texans and give students and faculty the opportunity to collaborate and benefit from the combined resources and talents of both institutions. UT Tyler plans to open the UT System’s seventh medical school in 2023 to improve access to health care for patients, expand the pipeline of physicians in East Texas and provide an economic boon to the region.

Over the last decade, Regents contributed more than $185 million toward facilities to support academic and medical education and research on UT Tyler’s campuses, including:

  • Construction of the Soules College of Business and Technology Building to accommodate enrollment growth.
  • Construction of a Graduate Medical Education & Resident Teaching Facility and Advanced Nursing & Health Sciences Complex to accelerate high-quality health education and health care.
  • An addition to the R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center to provide space for a large band hall, a choir rehearsal room, multiple one-on-one teaching studios, practice carrels, faculty offices, and secure storage space.
  • Renovation and expansion of engineering and sciences facilities to provide classrooms and labs for undergraduate students.
  • Construction of the School of Community and Rural Health to provide classrooms, faculty offices, and collaborative education space.
  • Completion of the second and third floors of the Academic Center to accommodate specialty health clinics, classrooms, meeting space and the region’s only medical library.

On top of that, Regents have provided almost $34 million to fund additional major repairs and upgrades to buildings, lab equipment, and the addition of new technology and improvements to provide critical campus infrastructure.

Regents have also allocated more than $12 million in the past decade to recruit and retain 24 notable UT Tyler faculty members through the successful STARs (Science and Technology Acquisition and Retention) program. Historically, STAR recipients have generated additional research grants and support for UT Tyler that amounts to more than 4 times the Regents’ initial investment.

The UT System also has the full partnership of the Texas Legislature through its approval of $177 million in capital construction assistance (formerly called Tuition Revenue Bonds) for the STEM Building, the Sciences Building, the Health Professions Education Center and the renovation of education and research facilities.

Funding for the Promise Plus endowment was generated by a series of prudent investments by UT System financial officers that produced higher than expected returns this past fiscal year.

Full-time, undergraduate students who are Texas residents and qualify for need-based aid will be eligible to receive Promise Plus funds, which will be used to supplement federal and state aid such as Pell grants and TEXAS grants.

The other institutions who will benefit from the UT System’s new Promise Plus endowment include UT Arlington, UT Dallas, UT El Paso, UT Permian Basin, UT Rio Grande Valley and UT San Antonio.

Background Materials

About The University of Texas System

For more than 130 years, The University of Texas System has been committed to improving the lives of Texans and people all over the world through education, research and health care. With 13 institutions, an enrollment of more than 243,000 students and an operating budget of $23.4 billion (FY 2022), the UT System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. UT institutions produce more than 67,000 graduates annually and award more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and more than half of its medical degrees. Collectively, UT-owned and affiliated hospitals and clinics accounted for more than 8.6 million outpatient visits and almost 1.8 million hospital days in 2020. UT institutions also are among the most innovative in the world, collectively ranking No. 4 for most U.S. patents granted in 2020, and the UT System is No. 1 in Texas and No. 2 in the nation in federal research expenditures. The UT System also is one of the largest employers in Texas, with more than 21,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies – and more than 85,000 health care professionals, researchers and support staff.

News Contact Information

Karen Adler: kadler@utsystem.edu • 512-499-4360 (direct) • 210-912-8055 (cell)