Thursday, May 30, 2024

Four years later, first cohort of UTSA Bold Promise students is fulfilling the promise

Four years later, first cohort of UTSA Bold Promise students is fulfilling the promise

Destiny Alvarez is one of more than 300 Bold Promise students graduating from UTSA this school year.

MAY 16, 2024 — As thousands of UTSA students celebrate their achievements at Commencement events this week, the university also is celebrating a milestone for its Bold Promise program, which covers 100% of tuition and fees for four years for eligible students. UTSA welcomed the first class of Bold Promise students in Fall 2020, and approximately 300 students from the initial cohort are graduating this academic year, joining nearly 100 who graduated in 2022-2023 and 2021-2022.

The Bold Promise tuition assistance program is open to first-time freshmen in Texas who rank in the top 25% of their high school class and whose families have household incomes up to $70,000. UTSA announced the program in December 2019 to increase access to a college education for eligible Texans. The program was designed to create opportunities for students from across the state to receive a high-quality, affordable education; Bold Promise is automatically awarded to UTSA applicants who meet the program qualifications.

More than 4,000 students have attended UTSA through the Bold Promise program since 2020. A full 25% of first-time, full-time students in the entering class of Fall 2023 were Bold Promise recipients.

“The graduation of our first Bold Promise cohort is a testament to the program’s effectiveness in advancing our mission of access and affordability.”

“At UTSA, we are committed to removing barriers to higher education and empowering Texas students to pursue their chosen careers,” said Heather Shipley, UTSA provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “The Bold Promise program exemplifies our dedication to enhancing social mobility, providing students with the financial support they need to thrive academically and pursue their passions. We are delighted to celebrate the achievements of our first Bold Promise students, and we reaffirm our pledge to continue expanding access to transformative educational opportunities.”

Incoming fall freshmen who qualify for Bold Promise will have their tuition and mandatory fees covered 100% for eight fall/spring semesters. The semesters must be taken consecutively within a four-year time period (approx. $44,000 value across four years) and eligibility must be maintained. Tuition and mandatory fees are covered by scholarships, grants and tuition exemptions from federal, state and institutional funds. To continue to be eligible for the program, Bold Promise students must enroll full-time each semester (12 credit hours or more) and maintain a 2.5 grade point average.

Of the more than 300 Bold Promise students graduating in 2023-2024, approximately one-third hail from San Antonio; the others come from all around the state.

One of those is Destiny Alvarez of Austin, who is earning her B.S. in Health from the College for Health, Community and Policy. Destiny also minored in Civic Engagement and has been an active member of VOICES: Volunteer Organization Involving Community Education & Service.

“What brought me to San Antonio and specifically to UTSA was Bold Promise,” Alvarez said. “I’ve learned so much throughout my four years here, and it’s definitely prepared and motivated me to go out into the world and pursue my career in public health.”

She continued, “Without the Bold Promise scholarship, I don’t know where I would have been, and it honestly took a lot of stress off my mom, who is a single mother. I’m just really grateful for UTSA and being able to be a part of this program.”

The UTSA Bold Promise program received a boost in 2022 with the establishment of UT System’s Promise Plus program, through which the Board of Regents approved a new $300 million endowment to reduce the cost of higher education for undergraduate students at UTSA and six other UT academic institutions. Later in 2022, UTSA announced Promise-to-Promise, an expanded transfer agreement with Alamo College District (ACD) to allow eligible students to start at any of the five ACD schools and then transfer to UTSA to complete a four-year degree while having educational costs covered at both institutions.

“The graduation of our first Bold Promise cohort is a testament to the program’s effectiveness in advancing our mission of access and affordability,” said Lynn Barnes, senior vice provost for strategic enrollment. “With a majority of graduates being first-generation college students and representing diverse backgrounds, Bold Promise has become a catalyst for empowering underrepresented communities in San Antonio and Texas.”

Learn more about Bold Promise.
Meet Bold Promise recipient and biomedical engineering student Jacqueline Avila.
Graduates, guests, faculty: Get the information you need about the Spring 2024 Commencement ceremonies.
⇒ Be prepared: Check out UTSA’s Commencement FAQ page.

Of the Bold Promise students graduating in 2023-2024, 67% are first-generation college students; 84% are Black or Hispanic. Their average GPA is 3.37.

Another Bold Promise student preparing to graduate is Eduardo Calderon. He says the financial support provided by the Bold Promise program helped him pursue his bachelor's degree in biology without financial stress. During his time at UTSA, Eduardo became involved with Alpha Epsilon Delta (National Pre-Health Honor Society), eventually becoming president, and was a member of VOICES and the UTSA Honors College. Eduardo plans to attend medical school.

“I chose UTSA because it was one of the most affordable options for me, thanks to Bold Promise,” Calderon said. “But I would recommend UTSA to any student — not only do we have great opportunities here, but our students are just as ambitious and our professors are just as passionate as any other school.”

— Rebecca Luther

UTSA Today is produced by University Strategic Communications,
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of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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