As parents and college students you can probably agree that paying for college is a challenge, but for some students at The University of Texas-Pan American, it doesn't have to be. UTPA offers what is called the UTPAdvantage program, in order to make college more affordable.
The UTPAdvantage program was designed as part of an initiative developed by The University of Texas System to help low income families pay for college. This program guarantees that any student who meets the requirements will qualify to have their tuition and fee expenses covered, meaning no out of pocket money or student loans are necessary.
According to Jael Garcia, assistant director of Student Financial Services, 70 percent of UTPA students receive some form of financial aid.
"We live in a very low income area where students require assistance because their families are unable to pay for their college education," Garcia said. "With the increase we can now reach a larger population, and along with federal and state grants and scholarships, students and parents don't have to worry about tuition and fees."
In order to qualify for UTPAdvantage a student must be an undergraduate student working toward a bachelor's degree, be enrolled for 15 credit hours during the fall and spring semester, meet satisfactory academic progress, be a Texas resident and have a family income of $35,000 or less. To be considered for the program, students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the priority deadline of April 1.
UTPA junior, Monica Bravo, comes from a single parent household and says that UTPAdvantage has relieved stress about paying for college.
"Only having one source of income left my mom unable to contribute financially to my education," Bravo said. "The UTPAdvantage program though has given us the ability to not worry about paying for school and lets me concentrate on my studies and trying to graduate."
Bravo feels that UTPAdvantage is an important program that allows students to continue their education without any financial setbacks.
Garcia says that regardless of whether a student qualifies for the UTPAdvantage program or not, they should submit their FAFSA by the priority deadline.
"When it comes to financial aid, funding is limited and goes to students who apply for it first," Garcia said. "So we like to stress the importance of applying early."
To learn more about UTPAdvantage or questions about financial aid, visit www.utpa.edu/advantage or call the financial aid office at 956/381-2501.