The University of Texas at Austin provides the Longhorn Opportunity Scholarships as a special opportunity to students at certain high schools in Texas. The scholarships award up to $5,000 each year for as many as four years at UT Austin. This covers a major portion of the mandatory fees and tuition, providing a very affordable education for chosen students.
This program was started in 1999 to provide help to historically underserved and economically disadvantaged students. Since its inception, the program has awarded over 1,100 scholarships, totaling more than $11.7 million in aid. These scholarships function with the President’s Achievement Scholarship program to encourage students to attend and succeed at UT Austin.
While the program is essentially a scholarship program, it serves many other purposes. During its existence, this program has served to identify students who may not have the opportunity to attend the university, to make sure these students get the appropriate attention and resources, and to provide support to help students graduate successfully.
How the Program Works
This is a community-based program. As such, a set number of scholarships are available to each participating high school. These are awarded to the students deemed most deserving. In addition, the scholarship program guarantees that students in the top 10% at each school will be accepted to the Texas public university they choose. Finally, the Presidential Achievement Scholarship provides help to additional students across the state to bring economically and ethnically diverse students to UT Austin. These three components work together to make sure increased opportunity is available to students in need and that students chosen will have the greatest chances of success.
Benefits to Students
Since removing financial obstacles is not a guarantee of a student’s success, the LOS program addresses all social and academic hurdles that stand in the way of student achievement. The program guarantees that students who apply for housing on campus by February 1 will receive their choice of residence halls. In addition, students are provided with free tutoring, academic and social peer mentoring, and small class sizes. LOS scholars also join the Longhorn Scholars program, which helps students manage typical college student problems, provides targeted personal assistance, and provides a single academic home.
Since the awards are limited, it is important for applicants to submit a completed application by December 1 of the senior year of high school. On the application, select the option for Longhorn Opportunity Scholarship, and make sure you are graduating from one of the eligible high schools. Finally, make sure to fill out the FAFSA by March 15 to demonstrate financial need.