Understanding Financial Aid.
Types of financial aid available
Scholarships & grants
These are based on your specific financial needs and/or academic merit. You do not need to pay them back; however, you will often be required to maintain a certain grade point average (GPA). They are available through the institution you will be attending, the Federal government, state governments, as well as private corporations and organizations.
Loans are based on your financial need and are required to be paid back. They are also available through the institution you will be attending, the Federal government, state governments as well as private corporations and organizations. If you are awarded a loan as part of you financial aid package, you may be eligible for either subsidize or unsubsidized funds, or a combination of both. Subsidizes loans are awarded on the basis of financial need. You won’t be charged any interest before you begin repaying the loan because the federal government subsidizes the interest during this time. Unsubsidized loans charge interest from the time the money is first disbursed until it is paid in full.
These programs provide you with jobs with financial compensation depending on your need. The Federal Government and state governments, including Texas, offer work-study programs.
States allow certain individuals to attend college or university without incurring any tuition fee. In Texas, for instance, there are exception programs for adopted students, blind and/or deaf students, students wounded in combat, students with outstanding rankings in high school, etc. Ask a financial aid officer at the college your are applying to for details on exceptions.
A tuition initiative available at The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College that covers all tuition and fees for first-time, full-time freshman Texas residents with a family income of $30,000 or less. Ask a financial aid officer at UTB and TSC for more details about this program.
The Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement, or Project VIDA, is a community-based agency devoted to helping the underserved residents of the region through education and training. VIDA’s approach is to connect students with career counselors and case managers to address the barriers they struggle with when it comes to postsecondary education. Contact Project VIDA to find out how they can help you with your financial aid needs.