KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — When the Vols take on the Mocs during the inter-system game Saturday, UT Knoxville and UT Chattanooga fans will have something to cheer for together: raising funds to permanently fund the UT Promise scholarship.

During the game, the UT System will kick off a $100 million endowment campaign with the announcement of $17.5 million raised since March.

“This endowment will allow us to keep our promise for years to come,” UT Interim President Randy Boyd said.

Until the endowment is funded, the University will cover the cost of the students’ scholarships.

UT Promise, which was unveiled in March by Boyd, is a last-dollar scholarship program that guarantees free tuition and mandatory fees for undergraduate students with a family household income of under $50,000 after other financial aid is received (such as Pell Grants, HOPE Scholarship or other institutional scholarships) at UT Knoxville, UT Chattanooga, UT Martin and UT Health Science Center. Students must qualify for the Hope Scholarship and meet the academic qualifications for the institution to be eligible for this new scholarship. To help ensure success, students will be matched with volunteer mentors and must complete eight hours of service each semester.

While 46 percent of UT students graduate without debt, the goal of UT Promise is to make higher education even more accessible and affordable for Tennessee students. UT Promise will welcome its first class in the fall of 2020, and the scholarship program will include those students who were previously enrolled in college when the program begins in 2020.

“UT wants to ensure that Tennessee residents can achieve their dreams with college degrees,” Boyd said. “We want to ease the financial burden for the state’s middle- and working-class families as we know education is the route to change lives, which then change communities and the state.”

In addition to the money raised through the campaign, proceeds from the sale of the Eugenia Williams house in Knoxville will go into the endowment, which will be known formally as the UT Promise Dr. David Hitt Williams Endowment in honor of Eugenia Williams’ father, whose will gave the house and acreage on the Tennessee River to the University upon his daughter’s death.

UT Promise is another tool the University is using to help the state’s Drive to 55 workforce development initiative, which aims to get 55 percent of Tennesseans equipped with a college degree or certificate by 2025.

For more information or to make a donation, https://tennessee.edu/ut-promise/.