University Leadership Network
Creating Leaders for Texas
A nationally recognized program providing incentive-based scholarships.
The University Leadership Network (ULN), at The University of Texas at Austin, is a nationally recognized program that helps students develop into leaders, succeed academically at UT Austin, and graduate in four years. The ULN has been featured on both PBS NewsHour and New York Times Magazine for it's innovative approach.
ULN is an incentive-based scholarship program designed to remove financial barriers for students from under-resourced backgrounds. Many ULN students are the first in their family to attend college. Despite facing multiple challenges, ULN students have earned the grades and reflected the ambition to become Longhorns, and they are enrolled in every college and school on campus.
ULN ensures students are engaged, connected, accountable, and supported. Students follow a comprehensive four-year plan that includes leadership training and certification, internships and experiential learning, and community and university service. All ULN students also participate in academic support programs.
The program creates a sense of belonging at UT through small group communities and peer mentors. ULN sets ambitious goals for the students and demands performance and maturity. Hear what our ULN students are saying about the program.
Research shows that students who work off campus tend not to do as well in their classes, nor to graduate in four years. That is why ULN’s scholarship component is so important. Students receive a $5,000 stipend each year, in ten $500 monthly payments.
The ULN scholarship is critical to help students attend UT Austin. All ULN students have unmet financial need and qualify for financial aid such as federal PELL grants and Texas Grants. Combined with ULN support, the student's direct cost of attendance (tuition and fees) is met, along with a portion of indirect costs.
ULN is unique because the scholarship is tied to the students’ participation and performance in the program and requires them to complete 30 or more credit hours each year – the number needed to stay on track to graduate in four years.
A Comprehensive Four-Year Plan
Through the concerted support efforts of faculty, staff, and student mentors, ULN students are nurtured, but not coddled. This support spans the students’ four years at the university.
During their first year, students perform community service, take part in discussion groups, and attend weekly workshops on topics such as resilience training, time management, professional communication, and ethical leadership. Additionally, students are assigned to an academic support program such as the Texas Interdisciplinary Plan, Gateway Scholars, or Discovery Scholars. During their sophomore year, students have on-campus internships, engage in professional environments, and build a variety of valuable skill sets. In their junior and senior years, students can tailor their experience to include research, on- and off-campus internships, study abroad, as well as on-campus leadership and civic engagement activities.
The financial support, learning opportunities, and community involvement enhance and streamline their educational experience while helping minimize loan debt and preparing them to graduate as scholars who can be leaders in their community.
First Class Results
ULN’s impressive results show the program is changing the lives of these students. The first two classes admitted into the program, the Classes of '17 and '18, had a predicted four-year graduation rate of 38% when they arrived at UT Austin - 18 points lower than the corresponding entire UT freshman Classes of '17 and '18. After their first year, both ULN Classes of '17 and '18 returned for their sophomore year at a 92% persistence rate, only 3 points less than the 95% persistence rate for the overall UT Classes of '17 and '18. Another further measure of success is a student's progress to degree; 77.3% of the ULN Class of '17 has completed the courses needed to graduate in four years in their chosen degree. That is compared to 84.5% of the overall UT Class of '17.
How You Can Help
Alumni and friends can ensure this program is available to help support these deserving students as they grow to be the future leaders of Texas. We invite you to make a gift to support one of our new freshman students who will start September 2016. Whatever your donation, every gift directly helps Longhorns graduate in four years and achieve success on the Forty Acres.
If you would prefer to make an offline gift or pledge, click here for the form. If you would like to establish a permanent endowment to provide ongoing support for ULN students, please contact Kay T. Thomas, Director of External Relations for Student Success, Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost.