Better access, brighter future

Robust offerings help keep a Maverick education affordable

Holly Lane can’t wait to study new subjects, make new friendships and further prepare herself for a career. She’s now in position to do all of these as one of five recipients of the Honors Distinction Scholarship.

UT Arlington’s largest merit-based award to date, the scholarship grants a select group of high-achieving first-time freshmen $20,000 a year for up to four consecutive years.

Holly Lane

Holly Lane is one of five high-achieving freshmen who received the new Honors Distinction Scholarship

“When I first found out that I’d gotten the scholarship, I didn’t know what to think. I guess it took awhile to sink in,” says Lane, who plans to major in industrial engineering. “I was so excited because this scholarship was pretty much my last chance at paying for my entire education.”

Students often question whether they can afford higher education. With the Honors Distinction Scholarship and numerous other options for financial assistance, UT Arlington is working to make sure they can.

A full-time undergraduate student can expect to pay about $8,500 for tuition and fees in 2009-10, a price that compares favorably with other major public Texas institutions. Add books, housing and food, and the annual bill approaches $16,500.

But most UT Arlington students don’t bear that cost alone. In spring 2009 a record 60 percent of students received some financial aid. UT Arlington distributed $41 million in federal, state and institutional grants in 2008-09—a 51 percent jump from 2004-05.

“We hope more students will be encouraged to pursue their dreams at UT Arlington because of the Maverick Promise.”

“We believe our comprehensive plan to help students pay for school will make higher education more affordable and accessible for people in this region,” President James D. Spaniolo says.

That plan includes a substantial increase in scholarship programs and funds. Students received $18.3 million in scholarships for the 2008-09 academic year compared with $8 million in 2004-05. UT Arlington saw a 19 percent increase in students accepting scholarships last academic year, and the average award increased by more than 60 percent.

Lane is grateful for the boost.

“My parents are paying quite a bit for my sister’s college, and I don’t think their finances would have been able to handle my college, too. I would have figured out some way to go to college, but it would have been a lot harder.”

Another helpful program, the Maverick Promise, provides free tuition and fees to Texas residents with family incomes of $65,000 or less. Applicants must qualify for a federal Pell Grant. About 6,200 of the University’s 25,000 students qualified for a Pell Grant in 2008-09.

“It’s an important step for a public university to take,” Spaniolo says. “We hope more students will be encouraged to pursue their dreams at UT Arlington because of the Maverick Promise.” 

Programs to help current students fulfill their dreams include a new combined scholarship initiative. Until this year, top scholars could qualify for only one major scholarship per year. Beginning this fall, UT Arlington students with a combined math and critical reading SAT score of 1100 and higher or a minimum ACT of 24 are allowed to combine scholarships, which means that more students will earn awards that cover tuition and fees.

The University’s new Top 10 Percent Scholarship allows Texas public high school students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their class to add $2,000 a year to any other UT Arlington scholarships they receive.

In addition, to ease the burden of any future tuition increases, UT Arlington is offering an Academic Enhancement Scholarship to its most dedicated students this fall. The award benefits those who maintain a 3.5 grade-point average while completing 30 semester credit hours.

“Students not only receive a first-class education at UT Arlington,” Spaniolo says, “but we make every effort to make it affordable, too.”

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