The Texas A&M system board of regents move up the creation of a new $100 million dollar student scholarship fund.
Chancellor John Sharp says the system’s 11 universities will be giving $10 million dollars a year each of the next ten years.
Sharp says they accelerated the calendar due to the economic impact of coronavirus in competing for Texas students from underrepresented populations who are being recruited to go out of state.
Scholarship money will come from university fundraisers and the system’s auxiliary fund.
The regents voted unanimously for the new fund during a special meeting on Monday.
Click below for comments from Texas A&M system chancellor John Sharp’s visit with WTAW’s Bill Oliver, and comments from the June 15, 2020 board of regents meeting from regent Bill Mahomes of Dallas and regents chairwoman Elaine Mendoza of San Antonio.
From the Texas A&M system:
The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents created a special $100 million scholarship fund with the goal of making the A&M System’s 11 universities better reflect the state’s demographics.
The scholarship program is to address diversity issues as well as concerns of students who are first-generation and/or from low-income families in the wake of economic uncertainty associated with COVID-19, current unemployment rates and families’ depleted emergency savings.
“Historic challenges call for historic action,” said Chairman Elaine Mendoza. “Given the economic impact families are enduring across the state, it is imperative we act now before the Fall semester begins. Our board’s strategic plan articulates clearly our commitment to ensuring our institutions serve a diverse student body. By doing this now, our administration has another tool to support Texans and enable them to pursue their education.”
The program is in line with the Board of Regents’ Strategic Plan that promises the A&M System will remain accessible and affordable for all students, regardless of socioeconomic background.
Monday’s agenda item emphasized that “the A&M System must ensure that cost and a lack of support for diverse students do not prevent qualified students from attending and finding success at a member institution.”
“Too often we are getting outbid for great kids by out-of-state schools that can make larger offers,” said Chancellor John Sharp. “We don’t intend to lose underrepresented students to them without a real serious fight. The goal is to make the A&M System look like Texas.”
The program provides $10 million annually over 10 years for scholarships to students from all socioeconomic backgrounds, particularly to low income, first-generation and students from geographically underrepresented regions of the state. The universities will be engaged in fund raising to help support this effort.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the state’s demographics last year broke down: 41.5% white, 39.6% Hispanic or Latino, and 12.8 percent black or African American.
Though system-wide the 11 universities are within a few percentage points of reflecting the state’s demographic, the student population on some individual campuses skews this data. The strategic plan calls for all Texas A&M System universities to better represent the population of the state.
“This has been in the works for years,” said Chancellor Sharp. “With financial challenges from COVID-19, now is the time to do this.”