Strong Interest in $1 million TEXAS Grant at A&M International Prompts Added Office Hours

Strong Interest in a $ 1 million grant program that can provide students with an award of up to $2,688 for study this Fall at Texas A&M International University has prompted the University to expand its office hours to better accommodate applicants.

"Student interest in the TEXAS (Toward Excellence, Access and Success) Grant Program has been phenomenal and to better handle student applications for the program we've expanded our hours," said Araceli Rangel, director of Financial Aid at the University.

The Financial Aid Office will now be open from 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. Monday - Thursday. Office hours Friday are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. In addition, effective Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2001, students will no longer need an appointment to see an advisor. All students will be seen on a first come-

first served basis. Students who have appointments already scheduled will be

seen as scheduled by a financial aid counselor.

Rangel said the University's increased TEXAS Grant award could translate into awards for as many as 400 students and presents a special opportunity.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for students to pursue their higher education at A&M International. For many students, these need-based grants will make a critical difference in their securing their University degree," she said.

Criteria for eligibility for the TEXAS Grant Program include that the student demonstrate financial need, be a Texas resident and have graduated with the recommended, advanced or distinguished high school curriculum from a Texas public or accredited high school in May 2000 or after, Rangel explained. Applicants cannot have felony or controlled-substance related crime convictions.

The process for consideration is simple, she said.

"Students will need to file a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), complete a financial aid folder with the Office of Financial Aid, and a TEXAS Grant application form. Students who are awarded a grant need to enroll in at least nine hours in an undergraduate program. Students have 16 months from the date of high school graduation to qualify for the TEXAS Grant," she said.

She noted that beginning in Fall 2001, students with associate degrees awarded in May 2001 or later can also apply for a TEXAS Grant.

"The associate degree replaces the recommended high school curriculum if it was received within 12 months of enrollment for a higher undergraduate degree. The number of hours a student is eligible to receive the TEXAS Grant is reduced, but all other criteria remains the same," she explained.

Students receiving the TEXAS Grants will continue to receive the award as long as satisfactory academic progress is achieved by maintaining a 2.0 grade point average the first year and a 2.5 thereafter.

"Recipients are eligible to receive the grant six years from the start of the first semester they received the award or until the recipient has attempted 150 hours, whichever comes first. Summers are not included in the total of attempted hours," Rangel said. The TEXAS Grant is transferable to other institutions should a recipient decide to transfer, she added.

The TEXAS Grant Program was created by the 76th State Legislature to help open the door to higher education for thousands of Texas students who otherwise would not have the financial means to pursue higher education. The initial TEXAS Grant provided $100 million to students state-wide and has since been expanded.

Former State Representative and now Secretary of State Dr. Henry Cuellar and State Senator Rodney Ellis of Houston, sponsored the legislation. Dr. Cuellar is a 1982 graduate of A&M International.

For more information, please contact the Office of Financial Aid at 956.326.2225, visit offices in Dr. F. M. Canseco Hall, room 302, or go online to www.tamiu.edu.


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