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UT Co-op Expands Scholarship to Reduce Cost of Course Materials for Students from Low- and Middle-Income Backgrounds

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Photo by Trent Lesikar

AUSTIN, Texas — The University Co-operative Society is making it possible for The University of Texas at Austin to offer a University Co–op Course Material Scholarship to reduce the cost of course materials for all students who qualify for Texas Advance Commitment. Increasing its support to $12 million over the next eight years, the University Co-op’s scholarship will be available to all qualifying students whose families make less than $125,000 in annual income. The University estimates that about 16,000 students will receive course materials scholarships in the 2023-24 academic year, with one-third coming from the Co-op.

“We are tremendously grateful for our partnership with the University Co-op and their continued investment in empowering fellow Longhorns to achieve their dreams and change the world,” said Jay Hartzell, UT president. “The Co-op’s significant commitment to offer affordable course materials and learning resources is an important step, and it enhances our efforts to make an exceptional education more affordable for students who have the greatest financial need. This investment complements the tuition support provided by the Texas Advance Commitment and the University’s recently announced pilot program to enhance housing affordability.”

Starting this fall, each student who qualifies for the University Co-op scholarship receives $250 annually toward the purchase of course materials at the Co-op, estimated to cover more than one-third of the average course materials cost for the academic year.

“The University Co-op has been the student bookstore since 1896 and was founded to bring down the cost of course materials,” said Cheryl Phifer, University Co-op president and CEO. “I’m pleased that 127 years later, our not-for-profit is still doing that, with every penny of profit going directly to the 5,500 course material scholars funded by the Co-op and awarded this upcoming academic year!”

The scholarship builds on the successful model implemented by UT for Me – Powered by Dell Scholars since its launch in 2020. UT for Me students will continue to receive annual textbook credits for up to four years through the program. With this expansion, the University Co-op will provide additional funding so more students are able to access course materials assistance. The University Co-op scholarship originally launched last year as a pilot program with a $10 million commitment.

This marks the fifth consecutive year that UT, in partnership with the University Co-op and UT for Me, reduced the cost of course materials for students.

  • 2019 – UT Co-op Undergraduate Scholarship established as part of the Texas Challenge, a dollar-for-dollar scholarship gift-matching program made possible by the UT System Board of Regents that expands Texas Advance Commitment.
  • 2020 –The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and the University launch UT for Me, and UT for Me students begin receiving annual textbook credits for up to four years.
  • 2021 – Longhorn Textbook Access is established. The initiative in partnership with the University Co-op has reduced the cost of digital textbooks and other digital course materials.
  • 2022 – The University Co-op Scholarship launches with a $10 million commitment, leveraging lessons learned from the UT for Me program.
  • Now – The University Co-op increases its scholarship to $12 million to apply to all students who qualify for Texas Advance Commitment.

The UT Co-op’s Course Material Scholarship announcement follows the University’s recent launch of a pilot housing scholarship program for students eligible for assistance through Texas Advance Commitment. The scholarships align with goals in the University’s 10-year strategic plan, Change Starts Here, to reduce financial barriers to an exceptional education for low- and middle-income students.

The University Co-op is an independent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit and operated by a board of directors comprising students, faculty members and staffers at The University of Texas at Austin.