AUSTIN (KXAN) – The University of Texas at Austin launched a pilot housing scholarship program to offset student housing costs up to $1,800 per academic year, with a priority on first-year students.

Eligible students are those qualified for free or reduced tuition through Texas Advance Commitment (TAC) and elect to live in the university residence halls.

“We have already made progress in reducing and, in some cases, eliminating the cost of tuition for our students who can least afford it, through programs such as the Texas Advance Commitment,” said UT Austin President Jay Hartzell. “Now we are actively working to identify new and more expansive solutions to mitigate the rising cost of Austin’s housing market, which has become a more acute financial barrier. This pilot program is the next step in our strategic effort to support our students in new ways.”

The scholarship is available to offset housing costs for an estimated 3,500 eligible students. Scholarships will be awarded in order of housing application date and prioritize first-year students. The University will begin notifying eligible students April 19.

Students whose family income is $65,000 a year or less and who receive full tuition benefits through TAC are eligible for a housing award of $1,800 for the 2023-2024 academic year. Students whose families make between $65,001 and $125,000 annually and who receive tuition support through TAC qualify for up $900 in assistance.

The Spring 2023 cost for residence halls is listed on the UT Housing and Dining webpage as ranging from $6,367 to $10,647 per semester. This cost includes a shared or private space, unlimited visits to university dining halls, internet, laundry, $300 Dine In Dollars to be spent at select on-campus restaurants and $100 Bevo Pay funds that can be used at select on and off campus stores.

This scholarship is part of the university’s 10-year strategic plan, “Change Starts Here,” to reduce financial barriers for low and middle income students. The plan calls for more competitive financial packages, including more need-based support for housing.

“This pilot scholarship program is the next step among many that we will take as we work to expand initiatives and introduce new opportunities to benefit our students,” Hartzell said. “Improving access to housing on or near campus aligns with our core objective of enabling success for all our students and ensuring the highest-potential students continue to pursue their education at UT Austin.”

In addition to reducing cost, UT Austin is addressing the need for more student housing. In 2021 the university purchased Dobie Tower, and has plans to add space to existing residence halls, open a new residence hall in fall 2024, and acquire existing housing near the campus.