TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The UT System Board of Regents approved a $300 million endowment for the seven UT campuses to help students pay their tuition, and this includes UT Tyler.

UT officials said this supports their mission to assist UT Tyler to positively impact education, health care and the economy of East Texas.

UT Tyler leaders and the community gathered at the university on Monday to discuss the Promise Plus initiative, which will expand tuition assistance programs at UT Tyler.

“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,” said UT System Chancellor James B. Milliken. “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.”

The current tuition assistance program at the university pays the tuition for first-time freshman students if their families make less than $80,000. The new Promise Plus endowment will distribute funds to institutions every year. The program is expected to provide $1 million for UT Tyler this year, which makes it comparable to a $22 million endowment.

This will allow 200 more students to have all of their tuition covered. The university also hopes to rename the scholarship program Patriot Promise after the university’s athletic teams.

In 2019, the Board of Regents developed a $167 million endowment to assist UT Austin students. Regents Chairman Kevin P. Eltife said they wanted to create programs that would help the other UT campuses.

“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 provide more funds to UT Tyler every year and impact more students.

“To have an opportunity to come to UT Tyler free of tuition and fees and graduate college debt-free will open up all kinds of opportunities,” said UT Tyler President Kirk Calhoun.

In the past 10 years, the board of regents has given more than $232 million to UT Tyler and the UT Health Science Center at Tyler for teaching and research. The funds are also going to help build the UT Tyler medical school.

UT Tyler is expecting to open the UT System’s seventh medical school in 2023 to help the community and boost the local economy.

Here’s how Promise Plus works:

Students who apply to UT Tyler will need to complete a FASFA application for financial assistance.

If the adjusted family income is less than $80,000 dollars a year, after they receive any other support, UT Tyler will come in and pick up whatever is left in tuition and fees.