TAMIU Offers Cautions on Fee-Based Aid Services

Parents, Students Urged to Exercise Caution
with Fee-Based Financial Aid Services

Area high school students and their parents are being urged to exercise caution if they are recipients of letters from organizations seeking a processing fee in order to receive financial aid money.

“We see these letters with some regularity before the start of each semester and we urge parents and their students to carefully review them. Some include a Student Aid Profile Form, adding to the  'official' tone of the letter. Others even provide a toll-free number and will ask the student for their Social Security number and birth date over the phone… something that should certainly never be provided to anyone on the phone,” said Minita Ramírez, Texas A&M International University associate vice president for Student Success.

“Students seeking financial aid should know that such services are available at any University's financial aid office at no charge. In addition, students seeking Federal student aid such as Pell Grants, FSEOG or Work Study are not required to pay any fee to receive consideration for services,” Ramírez noted.

Ramirez said while recipients of the letters are certainly free to choose to use the services touted in the letters, they may do so at some risk.

“These are tight times for all families. We would caution that they consider the risks and costs that are being associated with these requests. They may want to try free services available at University offices first and then make an informed decision thereafter,” Ramírez said.

For additional information, contact the TAMIU Financial Aid Office at 956.326.2225, visit offices in Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 158 or click on tamiu.edu/affairs/financial

University offices are closed Dec. 21 through January 1 and reopen on Jan. 2 at 8 a.m.

Despite office closures, registration for Spring Semester 2008 is underway 24/7 at UOnline at schedule.tamiu.edu Spring 2008 classes begin Monday, Jan. 14.

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