The T-STEM counselor can provide information to students and parents by inviting the school Financial Aid Officers to conduct a Financial Aid Presentation. In addition, some community colleges provide a workshop for parents and student to complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms.
The T-STEM counselor may also conduct classroom guidance to seniors on financial aid and how to find scholarships and grants. The smaller group setting allows for question and answer opportunities. Another source of information for Financial Aid information can be found at the THECB FACTS website, http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/index.cfm?objectid=71E20E40-D789-B87A-D03B6685124F6FC1.
Applying for financial aid begins with the completion of the FAFSA. The FAFSA is available on January 1 of each year. Student and parent income tax forms will be used to complete the questions. Once the application has been processed, a Student Aid Report (SAR) email will be sent to the student with a link to the SAR report. If students listed colleges on the FAFSA and have been offered admission, their institution’s Financial Aid Office will send an award letter. It will list all financial aid that the student is eligible to receive. Students and parents can find more detailed information on financial aid and the FAFSA at http://www.fafsa.com/home.
Should the student or parents believe the SAR report does not reflect their true financial situation, they can consult with the financial aid officer at their college choice. Sometimes the campus financial aid office can make changes to what the college will offer.
Federal Student Aid
FAFSA applications have deadlines set by the federal and state agencies and postsecondary institutions set their financial aid application deadlines as well. Students need to be aware of all deadlines associated with college applications and admissions requirements.
Student and Parent Loans
Loans are available to students and parents to help pay for college. Some are subsidized where the student does not begin paying interest until six months after graduation and the interest does not accrue until payment begins. These loans require a demonstrated financial need.
Unsubsidized loans begin accruing interest immediately but payment may be deferred until six months after graduation. All interest accrued will then be added to the loan balance.
Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) enables parents to borrow money to cover college costs which have not been met by other student financial aid.
Scholarship monies do not have to be repaid. Scholarships are available from many sources and are obtained through an application process. Scholarships may be based on financial need, academics, athletics, or other talents. Institutional scholarships are offered to incoming freshman based on academic or creative merit or other criteria through the institution Financial Aid Office or academic departments.