Financial Aid gives students chance at money through TEXAS grant

The SHSU Financial Aid Department is encouraging students to apply for the Toward Excellence, Access and Success Grant. The TEXAS Grant is a state financial aid program that is available to SHSU students deemed eligible. The grant may pay a student’s tuition and fees up to 150 hours or six years, whichever is achieved first. The purpose of the grant is to provide money to well-prepared students with financial need. The student uses the grant to attend public or private non-profit institutions of higher education in Texas, said Tammy Paris, assistant director of the financial aid department.To be deemed eligible for the TEXAS Grant, a student either must have graduated from high school within the past 16 months or received his or her first associate degree within the past 12 months.Certain criteria must be met in order to compete for the TEXAS Grant. The student must have been accepted for admission at SHSU, must be a Texas resident, graduated from a public or accredited private high school in Texas or received his or her first associate degree in Texas and have graduated with recommended or distinguished high school curriculum.The student must also demonstrate financial need, be enrolled for at least nine credit hours in an undergraduate degree program, maintain academic progress requirements, have no prior conviction of a felony or of a crime involving a controlled substance and meet all criteria of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating board.The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the only application required to be considered, said Paris. The likelihood of receiving financial assistance is higher than most students and their families anticipate, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Web site.Most students have a misconception that income is the only factor in determining the need for financial assistance, according to the coordinating board Web site. Other variables 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 are considered.Once the award is received, the student must maintain certain academic standards. The student must complete 75 percent of hours taken and maintain an overall 2.5 or higher grade point average.SHSU financial aid granted $2.5 million through this fund last year. The TEXAS Grant is awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. Eligible students should complete a FAFSA form as soon as possible, said Paris.For more information, contact the Financial Aid Office on the second floor of the Estill Building or call 294-3239. Additional information can be obtained at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Web site at

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