Texas Exes sets record in scholarship awards

Ashley Navas

Texas Exes is awarding a record-breaking total of more than $3.9 million in scholarships to 650 students this year.

Scholarships offered by Texas Exes include Chapter and Network Scholarships, the Forty Acres Scholars Program and Named Scholarships. Awards range from $500 to full-ride scholarships.

Kristy Parks, Texas Exes director of scholarships, said the amount awarded this year increased because of larger donations from individual chapters and networks, as well as new Named Scholarships.

“In keeping with the mission statement of the Texas Exes, one thing the organization does is ‘enrich the student experience before and during their time on campus,’” Parks said in an email. “One big way in which we do that is
provide scholarships.”

Nearly 13,000 freshmen applied for Texas Exes scholarships for the 2017-18 school year, compared to about 1,000 returning undergraduate students, Parks said.

“There are some scholarships for currently enrolled students that were not awarded because we didn’t have any eligible applicants who met the specific criteria,” Parks said in an email. “Yet I’m sure they are out there.”

All of the scholarships are funded by individual donors, groups of individuals pooling funds to commemorate someone or alumni at local chapter or network level. 

Will O’Hara, interim co-executive director of Texas Exes, is one of many donors. As a former McCombs School of Business professor and alumnus, O’Hara said he believes in giving back to his alma mater.

“Donors are passionate about education, passionate about helping students and this program and helping UT compete for top-tier students,” O’Hara said. “We believe in this university and its mission. It’s instant payback by just getting to interact with the students and watching them grow throughout their four years.”

The Forty Acres Scholarship provides recipients with tuition and stipends for living expenses, books and enrichment. Katherine Allen, mechanical engineering and Plan II senior, said receiving the Forty Acres Scholarship was a major influence in her decision to come to UT. 

“The relationship I have made with my scholarship donor, the Dallas Texas Exes, has been incredibly humbling and rewarding,” Allen said. “They have supported me and connected me to great people within the Texas Exes network and beyond. I owe so much to them, and I will never be able to thank them enough.”