Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

$1 billion from UT fundraiser set to directly support students

Atahan Koksoy
The UT Tower viewed from the Turtle Pond on October 6, 2023.

UT is the first university in Texas to raise $1 billion to directly support students. 

The fundraising is part of the 10-year “What Starts Here” campaign that began in 2016. To date, the University has raised more than $4.8 billion out of its $6 billion goal according to University data. The University created the campaign to support University students, faculty and research programs, said David Livingston, UT vice president for development.

“What we received from the state and what we received from tuition is critical, but it’s very much a community that is supporting the students and the faculty,” Livingston said.

Livingston said the campaign funded several forms of student aid since its launch, including allocating $680 million out of the money raised to the creation of more than 1,250 scholarships and fellowships. Livingston also said the funds raised will support programs like student emergency services, intramural clubs, student organization travel and UT For Me.  

“I think that sometimes these scholarships can change your family tree forever,” Livingston said. “We give them not just the support and the financial means to attend college, but also the support to be successful once you’re there.”

Marketing sophomore Saul Compean is a first-generation college student and member of the UT for Me program. He’s received a variety of academic and career support from the program, including a laptop to start his UT career.

“What they’re doing has made a very positive impact not only on covering my costs but also (by allowing) me to focus on my studies and academics without having to worry about whether or not I get to afford college,” Compean said. “Even just with those workshops that they have or new opportunities like community building, I’ve been able to meet a lot of people.”

The What Starts Here campaign’s success in supporting UT students and programs is largely due to community support, Livingston said. More than 291,000 donors contributed to the campaign.

“The truth is that people (are) invested in these students,” Livingston said. “They invest in the program, they invest in our faculty, they believe in this place.” 

UT students also have access to resources outside of the University, such as the Forty Acres Scholars Program administered by the Texas Exes Association.

Advertising freshman Jaylen Waithe is one of the scholars in the Forty Acres program. Although Waithe and his family were prepared for the financial costs of the University, Waithe said the scholarship still made a difference. 

“It takes away another layer of something that you’d be thinking about being in college worrying about finances,” Waithe said. “I’m privileged enough to not really have to worry about that because they handle most of that, so that’s a blessing.”

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