Cost of Attending A&M International Reduced by Programs, Assistance

The cost of attending Texas A&M International University has been effectively reduced by new programs and local, state and federal initiatives.

Dr. M. Stephen Brown, Dean of Student Affairs at A&M International, said programs ranging from increased scholarship activity to federal incentive rebates have made a four-year degree within all families' reach.

"With the addition of these expanded programs and incentives, the cost of attending the University is reduced, bringing the quality of a four-year University education within all families' means," Dr. Brown said.

"Scholarship activity has grown tremendously, with the average award over $1,000. In addition, over 100 students are employed by the University earning about $4,800 each. Perhaps most significantly, the Federal Aid Program increase has gone from $2,350 to $2,700, easily covering the cost of an average semester, with money left over for incidentals, " Dr. Brown explained.

Brown said other traditional aid programs have been boosted at the University.

"Our Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants nearly doubled from 1996-97, which means we have more resources from the Federal and State Programs to distribute to the individual student who may have special needs. Federal Loan Programs such as the Stafford Program, increase funding as the student progresses through his or her studies. We have an aggressive loan program that assists students with University bills and book costs prior to receiving a response to their financial aid applications," he noted.

Brown said the most promising of incentives will appear on the horizon this Spring with the federal HOPE scholarship implementation.

"This incentive will provide parents with a tax credit of up to $1,500 towards tuition and fees for students attending any University, junior college or vocational/tech school. This is an extremely important and long overdue incentive which will make higher education much more accessible and affordable for all families.

"While income-based, it is liberal and we expect that parents will take advantage of this opportunity to enable their children to secure the higher education they want and need. Another long-term option of interest to parents is the new education IRA, which will allow parents to put away a maximum annual contribution of $500 towards their child's education. Earnings in the account accumulate tax free and withdrawals are tax free when used for undergraduate or graduate level expenses," he said.

For additional information on the University's participation in expanded aid programs and federal incentives, contact the Office of Financial Aid at 326. 2225.

Registration for the Fall Semester is Aug. 27-28 from 1-7 p.m. Late registration will be underway Sept. 1 - 5.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu