Paying for College
Depending on your family’s income and your academic and extracurricular accomplishments to date, financial aid may be available to you in a number of different forms.
Scholarships – Are funds that do not require repayment and are awarded based on merit, need, and achievement in academics, athletics, the arts, or other scholarly areas.
Grants – Do not require repayment and are awarded based on financial need.
Loans – Are available at the state and federal levels and repayment typically begins six months after you’ve graduated or dropped to less than half-time status. There are also parent loan programs.
Work-Study – These programs and campus employment will enable you to earn money that can offset educational costs.
There are other forms of financial assistance, including institutional aid programs, tuition funding for military veterans and their families, and waiver programs from the state of Texas that allow certain out-of-state or nonresident students to pay in-state tuition.
Completing the FAFSA
The first step in the financial aid application process is to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is usually done online at www.fafsa.gov. Your FAFSA will determine how much financial assistance you may qualify for and what types of aid may be available. The FAFSA becomes available on January 1.
To complete your FAFSA online, you (and a parent if required) will need an FSA ID. The FSA ID - a username and password- is used to confirm your identity when accessing your financial aid information and electronically signing your federal student aid documents such as the FAFSA.
The Texas Application for State Financial Aid
If you are not eligible to complete the FAFSA because of citizenship or visa status but are eligible to be classified as a Texas resident for tuition purposes, you may be eligible under SB1528 to apply for state financial aid through the Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA). Application packets are available by contacting the Financial Aid Office.
While it’s crucial to know the application deadlines for financial aid, it’s even more important for you to understand that the earlier you apply, the better. Many funding resources are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so don’t delay on something so important to your education.
Navigating the financial aid process can get complicated. If you have any questions we encourage you to visit our Financial Aid Express Lab or call us at 888-882-4026 or 956-882-8983.