University Advises New, Future Students Apply Early for Financial Aid

University Advises Current, Future
Students to File for Financial Aid Early

Today’s darkening economic climate threatens to obscure many young students’ plans for higher education, especially those who will need financial assistance to realize their degree dreams.
Officials at Texas A&M International University say that while University assistance resources are available, they are limited and are encouraging students to apply in advance of the Early Priority Deadline of March 15.

“We know that budgeting for higher education is a challenge for the students of many Laredo and area families. The University has an impressive array of assistance available, but our resources are in danger of being exhausted. That’s why we’re encouraging students, both current and future, to observe early priority deadlines and apply online or in person now to help insure that they’ll receive the assistance they deserve and need,” said Laura Elizondo, TAMIU Financial Aid director.

Elizondo said students need to realize that they’re not alone in their pursuit of financial aid.

“With the sagging economy, more people, especially the recently unemployed, are turning to universities to enhance their marketability. That means there are more people both qualified for assistance and competing for assistance. Our federal assistance contacts are projecting about a 10 percent increase in applications for federal aid the upcoming school year,” she explained.

Another cloud on the horizon is the possibility that government grants could face a funding shortfall in the traditional Pell Grant Program, which awarded about 5.5 million grants last year.

Elizondo said the key is for parents and their students and all students of all ages to be persistent, apply early and explore all possible options for which they may be qualified, including TAMIU’s “Dusty Promise.”

“This is an especially popular program for admitted students whose families earn less than $30,000 annually. Funding comes from TAMIU’s operating budgets and, in some cases, is covered by federal, state or grant sources and scholarships. Last fall, we provided over $1.5 million in assistance, with 247 students qualifying for four academic years of tuition and fee costs to attend the University. Since we initiated the Dusty Promise in 2007, we’ve awarded $2.7 million and helped 491 students to come to TAMIU,” she said.

Other options worth consideration include:

  • For high school students, taking Advanced Placement courses can cut University costs by enabling them to earn credit in advance. Dual enrollment, mandated by House Bill 1, and including participation by local school districts, insures students can take up to 12 hours in university credit classes.
  • Military Service or ROTC program participation
  • GI Bill benefits, for those who are eligible and
  • Private scholarships.

“Again, the key is to apply early, be admitted and make sure you make all deadlines,” Elizondo concluded.

To help students and their families better navigate Financial Aid, the University will be participating in the State-wide College Goal Sunday Financial Aid Program on Sunday, Feb. 22 from 2- 5 p.m.

Parents and students can visit TAMIU Financial Aid offices to complete needed forms and also visit the Go-Mobile Van outside of the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library.

Offices are located in Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library room 158. Extended office hours are from 8 a.m. – 5 pm. Monday and Tuesday. 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Friday. Call 326-2225 or e-mail financialaid@tamiu.edu

For additional information, including access to on-line applications, click on http://www.tamiu.edu/affairs/financial/?id=2

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