UT to create program providing free tuition to qualifying TN residents

A beauty shot of the outside of Mossman Building on November 7, 2018. Photo by Steven Bridges

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Thousands of Tennessee students will now have a new opportunity to earn free tuition to schools within the University of Tennessee system.

University of Tennessee Interim President Randy Boyd announced Thursday a financial aid program called “UT Promise,” which will provide free tuition to qualifying Tennessee residents enrolling at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Chattanooga or Martin.

“It is critically important that we take a lead role in ensuring students can achieve their dream of obtaining an undergraduate college degree,” Boyd said during the annual State of UT Address at the Nashville Public Library. “It is our mission and responsibility to do everything we can to ease the financial burden for our middle- and working-class families, and UT Promise is an ideal conduit to achieve that.”

The program is designed to guarantee free tuition and fees for students with a family household income of less than $50,000 after other financial aid is received, including the HOPE Scholarship, Pell grants, and other scholarships.

Students hoping to be eligible must qualify for the HOPE Scholarship and meet the academic qualifications of the university to be eligible for the new scholarship.

The first class eligible for the "UT Promise" program will enroll in the Fall of 2020, but the program will include students who were previously enrolled.

At the same time, the University of Tennessee Foundation will launch the UT Promise Endowment campaign to help fund this program. The university will cover the cost in the mean time.

“This endowment will allow this to truly be a promise and guarantee for years to come,” Boyd said.