TAMIU Student Fulfills Father's Educational Dream with Financial Aid

TAMIU Student Fulfills Father's Educational Dream with Financial Aid

Unlike most 19-year-olds, Lizette García, a freshman at Texas A&M International University, knows her father will never see her walk across the University's graduation stage or give her away at her wedding.

That's because her father, Heriberto García Jr., passed away suddenly from an illness last June, a few days after Garcia's graduation from high school in Zapata.

"On my graduation day, as soon as I received my diploma, I remember my father approached me close to the stage and said, 'I'm proud of you'," García said.

Knowing her father had always wanted her to seek a college education, García is working to make her father's dream for her a reality by attending TAMIU. She's doing so through with the guidance and help of the University's financial aid program.

García, who can no longer depend on her parents for financial help, knows how crucial it is for some students to receive monetary assistance while attending the University.

That is why she recommends students take advantage of TAMIU's Financial Aid Fair, scheduled for Tuesday, March 2 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom.

The event, the city's largest, is free and open to the public. It is designed to familiarize students and their families with numerous financial aid offerings, ranging from scholarships and loans to grants and work-study programs.

García said she chose to attend TAMIU because of its proximity to her hometown of Zapata and because it provides her the opportunity to study, pay her bills and reach her academic dreams.

"I don't think I could have attended TAMIU without financial aid," García said, "I wouldn't have the money to come here."

But, thanks to the financial aid she receives, García is able to live at TAMIU's student residential community, University Village, pay for her tuition and books and cover all of her living expenses.

At first, García said she was not sure she would receive financial help to attend college. However, after meeting with her high school counselor in Zapata, she became aware that applying for financial aid is not difficult.

"One bit of advice I have for students who are considering applying for financial aid is for them to complete their paperwork in a timely manner," García said, "Also, if you need help, this is no time to be shy. Ask for information because Financial Aid Office staff members want to help you."

García said she hopes to become a physical therapist once she graduates.

"I want a college education. I want to be somebody and for people to know my skills and abilities," García said, "I also like to help people, and that's why I want to become a physical therapist."

By preparing herself with a quality education to survive in the professional world, García said her earning her University diploma will fulfill her father's dreams for her.

She recalled that her father, who only completed 8th grade, could never attend college because as a young man, he needed to work to support his parents.

"My father would always push us to go to college. He wanted me to go to college and not to stay at home and do nothing with my life," García said, "He wanted me to be happy and to do something with my life."

For further information on TAMIU's Financial Aid Fair, please contact Blanca McLeroy, financial aid counselor, at 326-2227, e-mail bmcleroy@tamiu.edu or visit offices located in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 158C.

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