Nearly 1,000 freshmen admitted into inaugural Bold Promise class

A+sign+advertising+the+Bold+Promise+program+at+UTSA%27s+announcement+ceremony+at+the+Westside+Community+Center+in+December+2019.+72%25+of+Bold+Promise+recipients+are+first-generation+college+students.+

Robyn Castro

A sign advertising the Bold Promise program at UTSA’s announcement ceremony at the Westside Community Center in December 2019. 72% of Bold Promise recipients are first-generation college students.

Josh Peck, News Editor

The Bold Promise program welcomed around 950 students in its first class of freshmen this fall, over 78% of whom identify as Latino or Hispanic. The last-dollar scholarship program provides four years of full tuition and fees for admitted freshmen who rank in the top 25% of their graduating high school class, file the FAFSA, are Texas residents, enroll full-time and whose families make under $50,500 annually. 

“Originally, we projected around 700 to 800 students,” Lynn Barnes, senior vice provost and vice president for strategic enrollment, said. “So it’s a good message that we were able to get more students to enroll who qualified for the program.”

According to an Academic Affairs press release, 20% of first-time, full-time freshmen students at UTSA are recipients of the Bold Promise scholarship, and 72% of those students are first generation. In Spring 2020, 45% of all undergraduate students at UTSA were first generation, according to a university dashboard.

The racial/ethnic demographic breakdown of Bold Promise and financial aid recipients in Fall 2020. (Courtesy of UTSA)

The program has a financial aid impact of $12.8 million for the 2020-2021 academic year. No funds related to the Bold Promise program — which draws from scholarships, grants and other institutional, state and federal funds — were reduced by the recent budget cuts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. No other financial aid funding has been restricted due to budget cuts either.

Barnes said UTSA and the Alamo Colleges District are talking about potentially creating a partnership between the Bold Promise program and the AlamoPROMISE program, the Alamo Colleges’ tuition-free program that offers students a path to complete their associate degree. 

“We’re still in discussions with Alamo on trying to create some way for students who complete the AlamoPROMISE to come into our Bold Promise program, but we have not finished those discussions,” Barnes said. “Of course, our priority is Roadrunners, but we do get a lot of transfer students from Alamo, so we’re trying to think about a program that could benefit students who start at Alamo who are all along thinking about coming to UTSA.”

Barnes said that beyond students coming from the Alamo Colleges, there have not been many discussions about allowing other transfer students to be eligible for Bold Promise.

“We haven’t talked about expanding it to transfer students, although we know that would be immensely helpful,” Barnes said. “The natural thing is for us to look at our largest feeder school, which is Alamo … we want to make sure we can fund it, of course — we don’t want to make promises we can’t keep.”