NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Immediately upon legislative approval of its affiliation with The University of Texas System, Stephen F. Austin State University will receive at least $1 million per year in need-based financial aid from the UT System Board of Regents through the Regents’ Promise Plus endowment. This investment will provide an allocation that will allow an additional 1,200 students to attend SFA tuition free next fall through the university’s Purple Promise Guarantee Program.
Set to become a UT institution this year, the SFA Board of Regents announced the new, annual allocation at its own board meeting held Jan. 29-30. The Purple Promise program currently offers funds to cover the remaining balance for tuition and fees not covered by other financial aid for families whose household income is less than $30,000 annually; however, the UT investment will raise that threshold to $80,000 beginning in the fall of 2023. 
“On behalf of the entire SFA community, I would like to thank The University of Texas System for investing in our students and in East Texas through the UT Regents’ Promise Plus Endowment,” said SFA President-elect Steve Westbrook. “The SFA Board of Regents made its decision to join the UT System based on system-level support exactly like this.” 
In November 2022, the SFA Board of Regents announced its intention to join the UT System following a request for proposals by systems around the state. Four public Texas university systems pitched SFA on the benefits of joining their respective systems. Based on evaluations made by the SFA board, Faculty Senate, Staff Council, student body and Alumni Association, UT was selected for its financial strength and commitment to help the university grow strategically while retaining SFA’s own identity and institutional culture. 
“The University of Texas System Board of Regents’ historic initial investment in Stephen F. Austin State University demonstrates its commitment to invest throughout Texas in affordable, high-quality university education,” said UT System Chancellor James B. Milliken. “The UT System is committed to helping SFA maximize its impact, and this investment by the UT System board will dramatically improve access to higher education for East Texans.”
Since its inception in 2009, SFA’s Purple Promise serves to pay the remaining balance for tuition and regular fees for up to 15 semester credit hours that were not covered by other grants, scholarships, exemptions, benefits or waivers. The program is only available to qualifying first-year students and only covers up to four years toward an undergraduate degree. 
UT institutions produce more than 68,000 graduates annually and award more than one-third of undergraduate degrees in Texas and more than 60% of the state’s medical degrees. The UT System also is one of the largest employers in Texas, with more than 22,000 faculty members, including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies, and more than 116,000 non-faculty employees, including health care professionals, researchers, support staff and student workers. The UT System has an operating budget of $25.2 billion.