The University of Texas at Austin has announced a ten-year, $100 million commitment from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to help close the gap in graduation rates across income levels.
Building on the foundation’s Dell Scholars program, which has achieved graduation rates for low-income students at four times the national average, the university and the foundation will team up to expand individualized support services for all Pell-eligible students at UT Austin and provide incoming freshmen from families with the greatest need with $20,000 over their college careers to help cover expenses such as room and board, transportation, and supplies. For Texas residents, the funding will be in addition to UT Austin’s Texas Advance Commitment, which guarantees financial assistance equivalent to the full cost of tuition and fees for Texas families with household incomes up to $65,000. The university has committed to raising additional funds to continue the program beyond its scheduled end after ten years.
In addition to providing financial support to Dell Scholars beginning this fall, UT Austin will offer all Pell-eligible undergraduates ongoing and individualized support through the UT for Me – Powered by Dell Scholars program, including financial aid and financial literacy coaching, tutoring and textbook support, a laptop computer, peer advising support, assistance with internships and career planning, access to university resources and programming, and on-track graduation planning.
“When Michael and I opened the doors of our family foundation in 1999, one of the first big initiatives we launched was the Dell Scholars program,” said Dell Foundation co-founder and board chair Susan Dell. “From the very beginning, it has been incredibly important to us that students from all backgrounds have the opportunity to graduate from college — and that mission continues to this day.”