Board of Regents approves $300 million endowment; UTSA to receive $3 million


Gauri Raje/The Paisano

President Eighmy accepts a $3 million check on behalf of UTSA from UT System officials.

Gauri Raje, News Editor

President Eighmy, along with members of the UT Board of Regents, State Senator José Menéndez and freshman student Gabby Palacios Martinez , gathered at UTSA’s Downtown Campus on Monday, March 14, to announce the contribution of UT Systems’ recent $300 million endowment to UTSA.

The endowment, which the Board of Regents unanimously approved, was first announced by the board on Thursday, Feb. 24. It comes four years after the Board approved a similar endowment of $167 million for its flagship university UT Austin. Seven UT institutions, including UT Arlington, UT Dallas, UT El Paso, UT Permian Basin, UT Rio Grande Valley, UT San Antonio and UT Tyler, will benefit from the new endowment. 

The program will generate $15 million this year, and the amount will be distributed among the institutions based on the number of students enrolled with financial needs. Each university will be allocated a minimum of $1 million and UTSA will be receiving $3 million.

According to the Board, “funding for the Promise Plus endowment was generated by a series of prudent investments by UT System financial officers that produced higher-than-expected returns over the past fiscal year,” and the funds will help aforementioned universities further expand their existing financial aid programs. 

For UTSA, this means expanding the Bold Promise program, which was established in 2019 and covers 100% of tuition for eligible students over a four-year period. 

“As part of our journey to become a model for student success, we made a commitment to put students first, cultivating an environment focused on their success, inside and outside the classroom,” President Eighmy said. “In 2019, we rolled out an initiative called Bold Promise, a program that gave us the opportunity to support high achieving, high potential students right here in San Antonio. Bold Promise offers incoming freshmen who graduate in the top 25% of their high school class the opportunity to attend UTSA for free. Since its inception, Bold Promise has served more than 5,600 students and continues to prove that when you support students, the impact is truly incredible.”

UTSA announced its plan to increase the family income threshold for the program from $50,500 to $70,000 last Fall, and funds from the Promise Plus program will further help UTSA offer benefits of the program to more students. 

“For Fall of 2022, thanks to the infusion of support from Promise Plus, we’re already offering 3,800 students Bold Promise opportunities — an increase of 39%,” President Eighmy said.

Eighmy emphasized the program’s positive impact on the students who benefit from it. According to statistics presented by Eighmy, 82% of Bold Promise students return for their second year at UTSA compared to 77% for other entering cohorts. On average, Bold Promise students also earn more credit hours and have higher average GPAs. 

“The success of Bold Promise students proves [that] when given the right opportunity and the right environment, students from all backgrounds can succeed,” Eighmy said.

Eighmy also acknowledged other support UTSA has received from UT System and the Board, including the Permanent University Fund (PUF), as well as support for collaboration with UT Health San Antonio.

“For our Roadrunners, this support means everything; it means giving more students access to a UTSA education; it means building brighter futures for students, their families and our community; it means closing the education gap and driving our city’s knowledge base,” Eighmy concluded. 

Eighmy was also joined by UT System Chancellor James B. Milliken and UT System Board of Regents Chairman Kevin P. Eltife. Both Chancellor Milliken and Chairman Eltife echoed the importance of making higher education more accessible. 

“The Board of Regents and the UT System administration is committed to full partnership with President Taylor Eighmy and his team to give more families the opportunity to improve their lives through a higher quality UTSA education,” Milliken said. “… building on the great work of our elected officials, our UTSA faculty, staff and administration, the Board of Regents and my colleagues at the system administration … we’re taking a major, prominent step to make UTSA even more affordable for generations to come.”

Chairman Eltife further explained that year after year, the $300 million will “grow in value, meaning the distribution will [go] up and continue [to] enhance this program.” Eltife also pointed out that Promise Plus was an effort to tackle student debt from the front end.

“[I] truly believe this Promise [Plus] program will impact the lives of students and families all across the state and hopefully give them the opportunity that was provided to me. There’s a lot of talk about student debt [and] we’re trying to do our part to tackle this issue on the front end of this spectrum. That’s what the promise program is all about,” Eltife said. “I believe without question, one of the very best things we can do for our future generations and for this state and this nation, is make sure we’re providing [an] affordable, accessible education for every student in this country. That’s why we’re here today — to make that happen in the state of Texas.”

Texas state senator José Menéndez, who was also present when UTSA’s Bold Promise program was first launched, also delivered remarks about the new Promise Plus program. 

“… this is a first-grade step to expanding access to our nontraditional students. When it comes to pursuing … higher education, first-generation, historically underserved students encounter the most barriers and research has shown that first-generation college students face greater challenges than their peers with college-educated parents. First-generation students are more likely to come from lower economic backgrounds and, unfortunately, because of this they don’t know how to navigate the system,” Menéndez said.

Menéndez further pointed out the importance of not just enrollment but graduation rates. 

“I’m not interested in…enrollment. I want to hear about graduation rates,” Menéndez said. “Every child that’s given an opportunity, every young person [who has the opportunity] to come into one of our schools, should know that we’re gonna work just as hard as they do so that they can graduate.”

Following remarks by Chancellor Milliken, Chairman Eltife, President Eighmy and Senator Menéndez, Gabby Palacios Martinez, a first-year student at UTSA, took to the podium to talk about the first hand impact of the Bold Promise Program and the importance of financial aid programs.

“If it weren’t for programs such as the Bold Promise, students such as myself wouldn’t have the ability or the means to work towards achieving these goals. But there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that the Bold Promise Plus program will continue to impact the lives of many, many students for many many generations to come,” Martinez said.

More information about UTSA’s Bold Promise Program, including eligibility requirements, can be found at