TAMIU Part of System-wide Financial ‘Promise’

TAMIU Part of A&M System-Wide
Financial Assistance ‘Promise’

Last week, Texas A&M University Board of Regents approved a far-reaching financial assistance plan that will provide gift aid to cover tuition and fees at all Texas A&M System academic campuses, including Texas A&M International University, for admitted students whose families earn less than $30,000 annually.

The Texas A&M University System Promise Program, approved by unanimous vote, augments tuition aid initiatives at a number of academic institutions in the A&M System, beginning with the Fall 2009 semester.

“The impact of this program is especially dramatic among first-generation college students. The demographics of the state of Texas and the rapidly changing economy make the availability of higher education more important than ever before in the state’s history,” said Michael D. McKinney, chancellor of the A&M System.

At TAMIU, the program, active for the past two years, is known as the Dusty Promise. Funding comes from TAMIU’s operating budgets and, in some cases, is covered by federal, state or grant sources and scholarships.

TAMIU president Ray Keck said the program has already posted measurable success.

“Last fall, using this same approach, 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,” he explained. 

Students eligible for these assistance packages must be full-time and from low-income families with households in which the combined income is less than $30,000 annually, he said. The assistance package combines federal, state and institutional funds to meet the tuition and fees for eight 15-hour semesters. 

Keck was also was quick to point out that students receiving the package also must make a commitment to succeed. 
“They must take the required course load and they must maintain a 2.5 Grade Point Average. We also want to motivate them to complete their degree program in four years so that they can enter their profession and begin to reap the quality of life enhancement that comes with attaining their degree,” Keck said. 

While up to $350,000 in funds have been set aside for students who qualify, the University is aggressively seeking ways of expanding funding for this assistance and other scholarship initiatives. Based on previous numbers of students who qualified, the University is projecting 321 students will qualify, a 30% increase. Deadline for consideration for qualified students is March 15, 2009.

Students must be admitted to TAMIU, enroll 15 hours each semester and submit a FAFSA application

 Keck said the University will also continue its fundraising efforts to augment available scholarship assistance for students.

“Over the past five years, we’ve had a 39 percent enrollment growth to nearly 6,000 students, which effectively drains the University’s scholarship pool. We have received federal funds and donations from private philanthropy, but increases in tuition and fees dictate a compassionate need to raise additional money for scholarships,” he explained.

“We want all students to know that the University’s financial aid team is committed to finding solutions for all those needing assistance. If students want to attend the University, we’ll work with them to get them the assistance they need,” he concluded.

For additional information on the Dusty Promise, contact the University’s Office of Financial Aid at 326.2225, visit offices located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 158 or e-mail financialaid@tamiu.edu

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