First Forty Acres Scholars Chose Texas Over Harvard, Yale, And Just About Everywhere Else

The UT Tower

Last week, the Texas Exes Scholarship Foundation announced the inaugural class of the Forty Acres Scholars program, amazingly the University’s first true full-ride, merit-based scholarship.

Now the data is in on who these students are and, interestingly, where else they could have gone.

All 10 of the Scholars hail from Texas high schools, including top private and suburban schools across the state, as well as rural and small town schools. Seven of the 10 recipients are women. The group’s average combined math and verbal SAT score was 1500, and five of the 10 Scholars ranked No. 1 in their class. Their leadership and extracurricular accomplishments also astound.

Five will enroll in the Business Honors Program, three in Plan II, one in Liberal Arts Honors, and another in Dean’s Scholars. Some 800 students applied for 10 spots in the program’s first year.

These are the kind of fantastic students that for years Texas has been losing to elite public and private colleges across the country, who offer handsome scholarship packages that, until now, Texas simply couldn’t match.

The Forty Acres Scholars program was designed to level the playing field, so it’s validating to see that it has. Eight of the first 10 students offered the scholarship accepted—a remarkably high yield.

There’s perhaps no better indicator of just what this program can do than to look at where else these Scholars could have gone had they not chosen Texas.

The list of acceptances: Rice, Georgetown, Duke, USC, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Virginia, Emory, Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, University of Chicago, UNC-Chapel Hill, Northwestern, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Notre Dame, and Texas A&M.

The first class of Forty Acres Scholars matriculates this fall. Meanwhile, the Texas Exes Scholarship Foundation continues to raise money. The goal is $150 million, which will eventually support 300 total students (or 75 per class).

The 2012 class is expected to be at least 15 students, and each class will continue to grow as more money is raised. Applications for that class will be available in August.

Welcome, Scholars. We’re glad to see the best of Texas staying in Texas.

File photo by Val Cook


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