A $100 million scholarship fund was unanimously approved by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents on Monday, June 15, to address diversity issues on campus as well as provide aid in the wake of COVID-19.

In a recent press release, Chancellor John Sharp said this project’s goal is to address accurate demographic representation across the A&M University system.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the current Texas population is 41.5% White, 39.6% Hispanic or Latinx, 12.8% Black and 5.2% Asian, while A&M College Station reports a student body population of 55.39% White, 22.23% Hispanic, 2.69% Black and 7.81% Asian.

This fund will allow for $10 million in scholarships each year for the next 10 years, primarily directed to low-income and first generation students as well as those from underrepresented population groups.

In the press release, Chairman Elaine Mendoza said this decision comes at a time where many families are feeling the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Historic challenges call for historic action,” Mendoza said. “Given the economic impact families are enduring across the state, it is imperative we act now before the Fall semester begins.”

Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications Laylan Copelin said the money for the $100 million scholarship fund will come from income produced by the Available University Fund as well as fundraising from each of the A&M system’s 11 campuses.

Copelin said this program has been in the works, as called for in the Board of Regents’ Strategic Plan that promises the A&M System will remain accessible and affordable to students, regardless of socioeconomic background, but was expedited due to COVID-19.

“Too often we are getting outbid for great kids by out-of-state schools that can make larger offers,” Sharp said. “We don’t intend to lose underrepresented students to them without a real serious fight. The goal is to make the A&M System look like Texas.”

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