State’s Budget News Should Encourage
Students to Apply Early for Financial Aid
This week, financial aid award letters are going out to students across the state pursuing higher education at State universities and colleges.
Texas A&M International University financial aid officials say this year’s letters will not provide a full indication of possible awards, as State funding levels for some assistance programs have yet to be determined. This year’s awards letters reflect the uncertainty of the time.
“The sad truth is that as the State is considering very deep cuts to state financial aid programs, our available funds could be reduced. Qualified students do themselves and their families best by applying now for fall 2011 financial aid consideration,” explained Dr. Minita Ramírez, TAMIU dean of Student Success.
Dr. Ramírez said that while the final accounting of what financial aid will be available is not yet determined for any of Texas’ colleges or universities, the scenarios that have been shared to date indicate reason to hope for the best while preparing for the worst.
“The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has said that the bills before the Legislature would reduce the State-aid programs by about 43 percent, or $467 million. These programs provided awards to 276,600 students during the 2010-2011 biennium. If the cuts were real, the funded programs would award less than half of the grants in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years,” Ramírez explained.
She noted that one especially strong program, TEXAS Grant, currently funds students for four-years.
“The Legislature allocated TEXAS Grant money for over 86,630 college students for the current academic year. The House and Senate budgets being considered would reduce that number to 27,315 by 2013 by cutting funding 41 percent for the upcoming two-year budget. That basically closes the program to new entering students, but allows those receiving the Grant to continue to do so,” she said.
That’s why she urges that students complete their financial aid form, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) now -- to better help them to be considered for federal assistance, scholarships or, if needed, loans. The FAFSA form is available at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/
“We are strongly encouraging all students and all parents considering higher education to take this first step now. Our staff is committed to helping identify all possible funding sources for TAMIU-bound students…but it starts with that first step: the FAFSA,” she said.
“Incoming freshmen should consider this an ‘all hands on deck’ call to get this done. Incoming freshmen should meet with one of our recruiters as soon as possible by contacting them at 956-326-2270,” Ramírez urged.
Registration for the Summer and Fall semesters at TAMIU begins Monday, April 4.
To speak with a TAMIU financial aid counselor, contact the University’s Office of Financial Aid at 956.326.2225, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, click on tamiu.edu/affairs/financial/ or visit offices in the University Success Center, suite 214.
A special links page with helpful hints and assistance websites is located at tamiu.edu/affairs/financial/links
TAMIU Financial Aid office hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. and Wednesday and Thursday 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Fridays.
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