The University of Texas-Pan American Office of Student Financial Services is encouraging students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form as soon as possible to qualify for the many state-awarded grants available to Texas residents wanting to attend higher education institutions.
University officials said many students are not aware of available state funds - such as the Toward EXcellence, Access and Success (TEXAS) Grant, which provides eligible students tuition and fees for up to $1,344 to attend a state higher education institution - because they do not complete the FAFSA form after filing their income taxes.
Student Financial Services hosts monthly workshops to assist students in completing the FAFSA form, which is also available on the web at www.fafsa.ed.gov
"We want students to be aware of this major grant and that in order for the financial aid office to determine their eligibility, students must apply early via the FAFSA," said Monica Alvarado, assistant director of Student Financial Services. "They must also ensure the admissions office has their official high school transcript on file."
The University recently received $8.2 million for 2002 for the TEXAS Grant program, the highest award in the state. Its initial allocation will fund more than 2,100 new students, and already 1,636 students have received awards, including 220 students that did not qualify for Federal Pell grants.
Any Texas resident is eligible for the TEXAS Grant if the individual graduated from high school in fall 1998 or after and completed the "recommended" or "advanced" high school curriculum or received an associate's degree after May 2001. Applicants must have financial need, be enrolled in at least nine hours in an undergraduate degree program and never have been convicted of a crime involving a controlled substance.
The first award will be distributed within 16 months and 30 college credit hours after high school graduation. Students can receive awards for up to 150 semester credit hours or for six years, whichever occurs first, if they continue meeting the program's requirements. Students with associate degrees can receive awards for up to 90 credit hours, four years or before they receive their bachelor's degree.
For more information, contact Student Financial Services at 956/381-2501.