The University of Austin

University of Austin

The University of Austin (not to be confused with the University of Texas at Austin) is a new private liberal arts university located in Austin, Texas. Its abbreviation is UATX.

The University of Austin was launched two years ago by a group of higher education critics in response to their belief that U.S. college campuses were no longer a place where students and faculty can openly exchange ideas.

The proposal for a University of Austin was described by Gabriella Swerling in The Daily Telegraph as “anti-cancel culture” and by Alex Shephard in The New Republic as “anti-woke.”

UATX is committed to the fearless pursuit of truth. In a conversation with The Texas Tribune, University of Austin President Pano Kanelos said he hopes the school can be a champion for free speech and open inquiry.

“We’re just living in a moment where things seem to be coming apart, where people seem to be pulled away from each other, where institutions seem to be shaking in their foundations,” Kanelos said. “The best response is to build new things.”


In October 2023, the university received its certification to operate as a degree-granting university from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. As of November 2023, UATX said it had received over 6,000 inquiries from potential faculty.

The University of Austin will offer a B.A. in Liberal Studies degree starting in the fall of 2024. Students will be able to choose from four concentrations in three Centers of Academic Inquiry: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM); Politics, Economics, and History; or Arts and Letters.

The university has established a campus in downtown Austin’s Scarbrough Building, and is scheduled to enroll its first undergraduate cohort in the fall of 2024. Classes will be held on site, with some supplemental online instruction. The UATX website states, “We are old school. We believe human beings think and learn better when they gather in person, in dedicated locations.”

Student Life

It’s not often that students get to enroll in the first class of a new university! So these lucky students will have a unique experience. “University of Austin students have what it takes to found new institutions. As student founders, they are interested in building a healthy campus culture and establishing the institutions and processes that will ensure the success of the University for years to come. Students will have significant opportunities to take real responsibility by serving in student government, participating in campus-wide townhalls, starting extracurricular clubs, organizations and other student-led initiatives, and building the traditions that will define the college experience for generations of future graduates.”


UATX is a private, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that will remain independent of any political, religious, or other external interest groups. According to the university’s website, they plan to not use race, gender, or class in their admissions decisions, stating this is because the school “stands firmly against that sort of discrimination.”

The University of Austin accepts the ACT, SAT, and CLT in satisfaction of the standardized testing requirement. The Classic Learning Test (CLT), developed by Classic Learning Initiatives in 2015, uses classical texts and methods to evaluate student learning.

All applicants must submit an online undergraduate application, which includes a personal statement and essay.

Personal Statement. In no more than 1,000 words, please respond to the following prompt:

  • What does the prospect of a University of Austin education mean to you? How did you come to form your opinions on this matter?

Essay. In no more than 650 words, please respond to one of the three prompts below:

  • Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos; the materials must, in the first place, be afforded: it can give form to dark, shapeless substances, but cannot bring into being the substance itself.
    – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
  • Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.
    – Marie Curie
  • The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.
    – Albert Einstein

Homeschooled Applicants

According to the UATX admissions page, “our admissions process is designed to admit students on the basis of demonstrated (i) academic capability and (ii) capacity for creativity and leadership. We seek students who demonstrate the character and temperament to contribute to and thrive in a challenging academic environment that prioritizes intellectual curiosity, applied learning, self-motivation, and entrepreneurial spirit. We will consider an applicant’s interests, background, and experiences to help us understand whether the applicant satisfies the admissions criteria.”

Homeschooled students must be sure they submit transcripts that contain the following:

  • Cumulative GPA
  • Semester-by-semester coursework and GPA
  • A grade for each course, preferably traditional letter grades
  • Very brief course descriptions for each course, include the type of curriculum and/or textbooks used
  • Indication of any completed college or co-op coursework
  • Signature of a parent or the applicant’s education administrator, if not the parent


Kanelos, Pano (November 8, 2021). “We Can’t Wait for Universities to Fix Themselves. So We’re Starting a New One”. Common Sense with Bari Weiss.

Niall Ferguson: “I’m Helping to Start a New College Because Higher Ed Is Broken”, The Washington Post, Nov. 8, 2021

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