The program, which was launched on Sept. 23, guarantees free tuition for new undergraduate students with a family household income of under $50,000 after financial aid is received. Through the scholarship, qualifying students can attend UT-Knoxville, UT-Chattanooga, UT-Martin and the UT Health Science Center free of charge.
“In the state of Tennessee, the median household income is $48,000, so more than half of the population of the state could qualify,” Boyd said, adding that students must maintain good grades and complete a day’s worth of community service each semester to qualify.
Boyd, a first-generation college graduate who went to the University of Tennessee as an undergraduate, said he wants to expand educational opportunities for students who otherwise couldn’t afford college. He also wants to see an increase in the number of first-generation college students in Tennessee.
Boyd said the UT Promise program will help bolster the state’s Drive to 55 workforce development initiative, which aims to get 55% of Tennesseans equipped with a college degree or certificate by 2025.
In 2013, Boyd joined former Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration as a special adviser on higher education to promote Drive to 55 and other state education programs. As a Republican gubernatorial candidate in 2018, he said that initiative was “something I want to see finished.”
”I had the opportunity to come to college and good fortune to get a job to pay my way through. Not everybody will have that opportunity, and college has got a lot more expensive since I was there,” he said. “We want to make sure other young people have the same opportunity I did. The University of Tennessee changed my life, and I want to give that same opportunity to others.
“It can change not only their lives but everyone around them,” he continued. “So this is something very personal, and it’s something I’m very passionate about.”
On Monday, Boyd also visited Bristol’s Tennessee High School, Kingsport’s Dobyns-Bennett High School, Jonesborough’s David Crockett High School and Unicoi County High School. Earlier this month, Boyd also visited schools in Memphis, Martin, Nashville, Chattanooga and Knoxville to talk to students about the program.
Boyd was joined by Kloee King, a Scott County, Tennessee, native and junior studying marketing, who spoke to students about what she’s enjoyed most about UT.
“I get to kind of show my perspective on UT and everything that it’s done for me and why I love this school so much,” she said of speaking to local students.
For more information on the UT Promise scholarship program, visit tennessee.edu/ut-promise.