• FAFSA

    Use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form to apply for financial aid for college.

    Opens October 1, 2020

    Apply: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa

    You can complete the 2021-2022 FAFSA form using the myStudentAid app. Download the myStudentAid app in the Apple App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android). 

     

     

    Texas Application for Student Financial Aid (TASFA)

    You may be eligible for Texas state-sponsored financial aid if your residency status is NOT US citizen, permanent resident with an alien registration card (I-551 visa), conditional permanent resident (I551C visa), or eligible non-citizen with an arrival/departure record (I-94 visa). An alternative to the FAFSA (Federal Application for Student Aid), TASFA enables resident noncitizens to be eligible for in-state tuition and apply for need-based grants and loans.

    TASFA Application

    TASFA Application- Spanish

     

     

    Sources of Financial Aid

    Financial assistance to attend college comes in many forms. Most people use a combination of these forms of aid to pay for college.

    Federal Aid Programs

    The federal government requires students to complete the U.S. Department of Education's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as a basic application for its financial aid programs. You can get one from a high school or college for the appropriate year (usually available in November), or you can visit studentaid.ed.gov (opens new window) for general student aid information and the online FAFSA. It will be processed free of charge.

    Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
    These grants are provided to a limited number of undergraduate students with financial need. Preference is given to students with exceptional financial need. FSEOGs are awarded by colleges.

    Federal Pell Grant
    Financial assistance awarded by the federal government on the basis of need. TheStudent Aid Report (SAR) informs students of their Pell Grant eligibility. The grant may be used toward tuition, room and board, books, or other educational costs and requires no repayment.

    Federal Perkins Loan
    Loans funded by the federal government and awarded by the institution. The loans feature low interest rates and are repayable over an extended period of time.

    William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program
    Provides both Stafford Loans for Students and PLUS Loans for parents. Eligible students and parents borrow directly from the federal government at participating schools. Direct Loans also include Direct Consolidation Loans. Repayment of these loans is made to the U.S. Department of Education.

    Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program
    Provides both Stafford Loans for students and PLUS Loans for parents through participating private lenders. FFEL also provides for Federal Consolidation Loans. Repayment of these loans is made to the bank or other private lender that made the loan.

    Subsidized FFEL or Direct Stafford Loans—are awarded on the basis of financial need. Recipients will not be charged interest until they begin repayment.

    Unsubsidized FFEL or Direct Stafford Loans—are not awarded on the basis of need. Interest accrues from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full.

    PLUS Loans (for parents)—provide low interest loans to credit-approved parents of eligible undergraduate students. Repayment typically must begin 60 days after loan is fully disbursed.

    Consolidation Loans—allow students or parents the opportunity to combine several types of federal loans into a single loan with one monthly payment.

    Federal Work-Study
    A government-supported financial aid program coordinated through financial aid offices in which an eligible student (based on need) may work part-time while attending class, generally in career-related jobs.

    For more information about federal financial aid programs and your rights and responsibilities under these programs, read Funding Your Education: The Guide to Federal Student Aid (opens new window). You can also request your free paper copy by contacting the U.S. Department of Education (opens new window) at 1-800-4-FED-AID, or writing to:

    U.S. Department of EducationFederal Student Aid Information CenterP.O. Box 84Washington, DC 20044-0084

     

    State Aid Programs

    Most states support various aid programs (both need-based and merit). Generally, eligibility for state need-based programs follows the federal guidelines.

    Grants and Scholarships

    Grants are financial awards that do not need to be repaid and typically come from state or federal sources. They are usually based on financial need. Scholarships are financial awards based on merit or merit plus need and come from government or private sources. They don't have to be repaid either.

    You only need to complete one Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) regardless of how many colleges you are considering. The FAFSA includes a section for you to list the colleges to which you want your information sent.

    Complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1st during your senior year or the year before you plan to attend college.

    You should also check with each college to determine if there are additional forms required.

    Merit-based Scholarships

    Merit-based scholarships can be earned based on your talents or performance in a variety of areas:

    • Academic
    • Athletic
    • Extracurricular involvement
    • Leadership
    • Volunteer work
    • Art, theater, music

    A few scholarships are based solely on merit, but most scholarships use a combination of financial need and merit.

    Loans

    Since banks generally consider loans to students to be very risky, the federal government guarantees student loans. You may borrow from the federal government, from the school you attend, or from a bank.

    Interest rates vary by program. For federal loans, qualifying students—based on need—will not have to pay interest while in school. Rates are usually lower than other loans and repayment is usually delayed until you graduate. Loan programs also are available to eligible parents to help with college expenses of their qualifying children.

    There are three types of loans:

    • Student loans: Interest begins when you get the money, but you don't have to repay the loan until you graduate.
    • Parent loans: Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) allows your parents to pay for your education. Parents may also want to consider a home equity loan.
    • Alternative loans: If student or parent loans do not cover the complete cost, private lenders may offer loans to cover the rest.

    Combinations of these are called consolidation loans. As you near graduation or after graduation, a consolidation loan may lock in at a lower interest rate.

    The federal government may subsidize your loan if you demonstrate financial need. This means the government pays part of the interest. You may get the loan from the college or from a bank or other lender.

    These loans must be paid back. If you fail to graduate, or do not find a job when you graduate, it may be difficult to pay these loans back. You may be able to reduce the amount you borrow by working while going to school.

    Military Programs

    Military benefits—The military offers several options to help you pay for college.

    • Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC)—provides money for college while you are in school. Upon graduation, you enter the military as an officer.
    • Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges (SOC)—More than 1800 colleges participate in this program. It allows servicemembers to earn a degree from a civilian college while serving in the military.
    • Veterans—a variety of programs are available to those who have served in the military. Check with the Veterans Administration (opens new window) for details.

    Work Study Programs

    Jobs that allow students to earn money toward their education while they are enrolled in school. Students can sometimes get jobs related to their program of study.

    Working and Savings

    Many students choose to work while in college. A job can help pay for college tuition and other expenses.

    Work Study
    Work-study programs are funded by the federal government and some states, and are included in many students' financial aid packages. Completing your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may be the first step to finding a work-study job.

    Work-study provides jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay educational expenses. The program encourages community service and work related to each student's course of study.

    You will earn at least the current minimum wage, but you could be paid more, depending on the job. Work-study jobs are usually flexible and work is scheduled around your classes.

    Employment On and Off Campus (No Work Study)
    Most colleges and college communities offer a wide variety of employment opportunities for students who are seeking jobs to help defray their college costs. Most colleges maintain a student employment office that will assist students in locating both on- and off- campus job opportunities.

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