Federal Student Aid serves as financial guidance and a lifeline to students, but it’s not always guaranteed. Taking out private loans, obtaining scholarships and working a job or two may be underlying reasons for a student being denied federal aid, but there’s another option that many students aren’t aware of: Texas Application for State Financial Aid.
TASFA is an application that collects information to determine eligibility for state and institutional financial aid. To be eligible, students must be a Texas resident and unable to apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, for you can’t obtain both aids at the same time.
After meeting that criteria, applicants have to mail the application form to specific universities that accept TASFA. Sam Houston State University is one of many Texas institutions who accept state financial aid, but it’s vital that students properly research what institutions are eligible for TASFA. It’s a process that calls for patience and dedication, but with the new decision to bring the application online in fall 2021, applying could become less difficult.
Texas House Bill 2140, passed in June 2019, supports the idea of The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to create a website for TASFA. This online database will have the same questions that the physical TASFA application possesses and will make collecting and sharing information between institutions smoother.
SHSU Student Money Management Program Coordinator Ace Thomas brought up an interesting detail concerning this change that aligns accessibility and inclusion.
“We work high school FAFSA/TASFA workshops where we help students and their parents fill out their respective forms,” Thomas said. “It is very alienating for TASFA students to be doing a paper form while all their peers are on computers submitting them digitally. Now they can all be on the computers. It’s just easier for everyone.”
This digital direction could provide ease, instant engagement and clarity for applicants. Technology of many types are accessible on college campuses, so a student interested in applying could do so at their dorms or even set an appointment with their financial advisor for assistance. It’s a more fluid experience that serves students and their financial journey.
Thomas said online applications will make TASFA more user-friendly.
“The TASFA is not particularly easy to fill out if you have never experienced them before,” Thomas said. “Online versions make these forms much more manageable since they give you sections at a time to work towards.”
According to the THECB, state financial aid produces 9% of overall financial aid in Texas. With this digital introduction, there could potentially be a spike in interest and submissions for TASFA once 2021 comes around.