Frequently Asked Questions
What are my chances of receiving financial aid? The only way to determine your eligibility for financial aid is to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid FAFSA. The likelihood of receiving some form of financial assistance is probably better than most students and their families anticipate.
What is the deadline to apply for financial aid? To receive maximum consideration for aid, the FAFSA and all requested documents must be received by the institution for processing prior to March 15th for the following academic year.
Is there a maximum income level that will disqualify me from receiving financial aid? Most people have the misconception that income is the only factor in determining need for financial aid assistance. However, other variables are considered such as: family size, number of family members in college, age of older parent, savings, investments, and various other allowances to the family's income and assets.
I wasn’t married last year, but now I am. Since my spouse filed a separate tax return from mine, do I still need to report his income on the FAFSA? Yes. Information from both income tax forms must be reported if you are married at the time the FAFSA is completed. Add together the amounts requested from the specified lines on both tax forms. By the same token, both of you and any legal dependents for either of you would be counted in the household size. The “type of form filed” would be the more complex of any two different types of tax forms.
I was married last year, but now I am widowed/divorced/separated. How do I complete the income portions of the FAFSA? You should only report the portion of income that was your own, individually, and this can sometimes get complicated. Our office will be glad to assist you in arriving at the proper figures to report. Basically, the W2s from your jobs and any business income/loss that was yours alone are reported as wages, but there are often adjustments shown on the tax form before reaching the reportable bottom line AGI. A percentage of the tax paid will also be calculated, based on the percentage of the joint AGI that was your portion. Other credits and adjustments may be split evenly or attributed fully to either taxpayer, as is applicable and evident. Dependency status of any children must also be established to determine household size. To obtain assistance from this office, please provide copies of tax returns and all W2s involved, and it is usually wise to arrange for an in-person consultation.
Are there other forms that I can fill out in order to be considered for any other grants? The FAFSA is required in order to be considered for all grant programs available through processing by the financial aid department. Grants are considered need based aid. Additionally,if selected for verification, you will be required to submit additional items, which could include various worksheets, tax return transcripts, W2's, etc. These requests will be listed in Banner Self-Serve.
In order to receive financial aid do I have to apply every year? Yes. In order to receive consideration for eligible programs you must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. File the FAFSA as close to January as possible. For speedy processing you can apply over the Internet at: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov instead of using the paper form.
If my parents are divorced or separated, which parent do I put on the FAFSA? You should provide information from the parent that provided you with the most support in the past year. If the parent who provided you with the most support has remarried, your step- parent's information must also be provided on the FAFSA. Additional guidance on who is condsidered a parent can be found online at the Federal Student Aid website.
I am expecting a child. Do I count the baby in our household size? If you know you are pregnant at the time the FAFSA is originally filed and if the child is due before classes end in May, the child should be included in the household size. The only exception might be if you will not be the person financially supporting the child (i.e., a single mother still living at home with her parents and not working). If you did not find out about the pregnancy until after the FAFSA was filed, some circumstances permit updating the family size; others do not. Please discuss this with us and we can submit the updates, if they are allowed.
Why can't I apply for financial aid without using my parent's information on the FAFSA form? When you apply for federal student aid, your answers to certain questions will determine whether you are considered dependent on your parents or independent. If you are considered dependent on your parents, you must report their income and assets as well as your own. If you think you have unusual circumstances that would make you independent, talk to your financial aid counselor. Additional guidance on dependent vs. independent student status can be found online at the Federal Student Aid website.
How can I find out how much of my earnings were deposited into my pre-tax retirement account, which needs to be reported in the Other Untaxed Income section of the FAFSA? Examine your W2 forms. Whenever the Box 5 amount is larger than the amount in Box 1, there were untaxed funds going into such an account, even if they weren’t individually identified in Box 13 as specified in the FAFSA instructions. Find the difference between these two figures and report that in the Other Untaxed Income section of the FAFSA.
My friend has about the same income and family size as I do, but (s)he received several grant-type awards and I was only awarded a Pell Grant. What can I do to have some state grants added to my financial aid package? You’ve probably already done all you can do for this year. The most common reason for the difference is one of timeliness. The sooner students apply for aid and the faster they submit any supporting documents and satisfy Admissions requirements, the more likely they are to be included in the “priority group” to whom most of the state grant funds are awarded. State grants are distributed to those “early bird” applicants who have all of their fall requirements completed before summer.
What is verification? And why was I chosen? You should save all records and all other materials used in completing the application because you may need them later to prove that the information you reported is correct. This process is called verification. Students are selected for verification randomly by the federal processor to ensure that information listed on the FAFSA is accurate.
I am not a U.S. citizen; can I still receive financial aid? Maybe; if you are not a U. S. citizen, a permanent U.S. resident with an alien registration card (I-551), conditional permanent U.S. resident, or eligible noncitizen, you may qualify for Texas state aid if you are a Texas resident. More information can be found on the College for All Texans website. You’ll want to complete a TASFA (Texas Application for State Financial Aid), NOT a FAFSA. If you have questions regarding how to complete the TASFA application or if you should fill out a TASFA or FAFSA, contact the Financial Aid Office.
What happens if I drop a class? If you drop a class prior to the census date, you may be responsible for repayment of the difference between the amount of money you received and the amount specified for the new enrollment status. If you drop a class, you must make sure you remain in compliance with our Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy.
What happens if I withdraw? If you withdraw completely or drop below ½ time status, you may be responsible for repaying money received from financial assistance. You will be academically ineligible for financial aid, if you return to school and fail to remove all academic deficiencies. Your grace period begins to count down and if you fail to enroll within 6 months, the repayment will begin on your student loans.
Will the financial aid transfer from one school to another? No. Financial aid does not transfer from school to school. Students planning to transfer to another school should contact the Financial Aid Office at both schools to find out what is required.
Why is the maximum amount of loan money limited? Students applying for the Federal Direct Loan are subject to annual and aggregate loan limits that are based on the academic level, dependency status, and length of the academic program. Loan limits and other information may be reviewed at the Federal Student Aid website.
How do I make sure I completed my required counseling and/or Master Promissory Note (MPN) for my loan(s)? Log on to StudentLoans.gov using your FSA ID and password, then refer to the menu on the left. To check your counseling status, look for the "Counseling" heading, and choose "View Completed Counseling." To check your Master Promissory Note, look for the heading "My Loan Documents" and choose "Completed MPNs." Make sure that you completed the correct counseling type and correct MPN type based on the loan you are borrowing, and verify that you listed TAMUT as the school to receive the information.
What if my financial assistance is not available by the due date for my tuition? Students may apply for an emergency loan with the business office or set up a tuition payment plan to help pay for certain semester educational expenses. The student must meet specific academic requirements to be eligible. Yes, there is a small semester loan fee rate but it is minimal compared to other alternatives.
I am dually enrolled at two colleges. Should I apply for aid at both schools? As a general rule, no. The federal form should be completed only once a year, and listing the proper school codes on the FAFSA ensures all schools will receive the same report. Federal funds, such as the Pell Grant, can only be received from one school, however, during any given semester, so you generally will want to draw the aid from the school where you take the most coursework; the school from which you are seeking a degree. If you allow two schools to award you, the central processors will notify both schools, and you will be asked to repay one of the institutions. [Some state and agency funds, however, can be applied at both institutions, and merit-based scholarships should always be pursued.] On a case-by-case basis, an individual consortium agreement could be granted, usually in cases where the “home” school (school where you are pursuing the degree) is not currently offering all of the courses needed to complete your degree. In these cases, the course(s) at the “host” school where you are able to enroll in the needed coursework is added to the courses in which you are enrolled at the home school and aid is paid on a slightly increased cost of attendance budget by the home school. There is additional paperwork and monitoring involved, but if you need this assistance, visit with our Financial Aid Director.
What is a financial aid warning? A warning is granted to a student that does not meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to give the student a semester to bring up the GPA or complete the hours needed in order to meet SAP and be eligible for Financial Aid for the next semester.
What must I do to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)? Refer to the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy for detailed information.
How do I apply for a Parent PLUS Loan? Parents of dependent students are eligible to apply for a Parent PLUS Loan. This loan is credit-based and, if approved, can be borrowed to cover the student's cost of attendance that the student's other financial aid does not cover.
If you are interested in receiving this award, you will need to apply for the PLUS loan for the correct award year.
To apply for the PLUS loan please follow the instructions below:
- Go to https://studentloans.gov
- The parent must sign in using their U.S. Department of Education Personal Identification Number (PIN) or login/password
- Select Request Direct PLUS loan
- Select Parent PLUS for loan type on bottom of page
- Follow steps to complete the application and credit check
- The results of the credit check will be given immediately.
- If your credit is approved, you must:
- Complete PLUS Loan Counseling on https://studentloans.gov - PLUS Counseling is voluntary unless required by the Department of Education. Parents will be contacted by the Department of Education if this is required.
- Complete a PLUS Master Promissory Note. You may see if you have already completed a PLUS Master Promissory Note, by signing in at https://studentloans.gov and checking under “Completed MPN’s.”
- If your credit is denied, your options are:
- Undecided OR I will not pursue the parent PLUS loan. If this option is selected the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office will offer the student an additional unsubsidized loan if their budget allows.
- Pursue an endorser. If this option is selected you will need to have your endorser complete an application on https://studentloans.gov, and if approved they will have to submit the ENDORSER Disbursement Authorization form to the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office.
- Appeal decision. If this option is selected you will complete an appeal on https://studentloans.gov
- If your credit is approved, you must:
What is Cost of Attendance? Is this the amount that is owed to the Business Office? The cost of attendance (COA) is an estimate of what it costs the typical student to attend Texas A&M University-Texarkana. Your cost of attendance (COA) doesn’t just cover your college tuition; it takes into account your basic living expenses too. This amount is not owed to the Business Office. The amount owed to the Business Office can be found in Web for Students under TouchNet Payment Gateway. Please note you can only receive aid up to your Cost of Attendance.
How many hours do I have to take to receive Financial Aid? To receive loans, a student must be in at least six (6) hours for the semester in which the loans are received. The Pell Grant pays at a prorated amount up to twelve (12) hours. Undergraduates are awarded based on 12 hours of enrollment. If you plan to take less than 12 hours for the semester, please note that there is a possibility of loan money being owed back to the university since your Cost of Attendance will reduce. You can only receive aid up to your Cost of Attendance. The amount owed will not be known until we recalculate your cost of attendance on Census Day, which is 12 days into the semester.
Where can I check to see how much loans I have taken out? Students are able to check their loan amounts at the National Student Loan Database System by visiting www.nslds.ed.gov. Click on “Financial Aid Review” and sign-in using your FSAID. You will be able to view all your loans and Pell Grants you have accepted.
What are my financial aid options if I have met my limits for loans or ineligible for aid? The option a student can pursue if no aid is available to them is to apply for a private loan. More information on private loans can be found under Types of Aid on the Financial Aid webpage. The link is also provided below: