Students across campus now have access to the 2019-20 Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, following its release last Monday.
When filling out FAFSA, students are applying for six types of federal financial aid: grants, loans, military service, tax benefits, state aid and work-study. At UT, FAFSA is also used to apply for state and institutional funds.
“The grant is need-based,” said Trina Manor, associate director of the Office of Financial Aid. “Anybody can be eligible for a loan, so … loans are the ones that are going to be offered more. Quite a few students can be eligible for work-study, but the one thing about work-study is each campus has very limited funds.”
Limits can be placed on other types of aid as well, including the state Legislature’s TEXAS Grant.
“There are some programs that can run out of aid or out of the funding,” Manor said. “So with the TEXAS Grant, we’ll take a waitlist for students and then … award them the TEXAS Grant later once we have more funding available.”
The Pell Grant is the primary federal grant that “colleges use as their basis of a financial aid package,” Manor said. Journalism freshman Michelle Facio received a Pell Grant to cover her tuition but said one of her friends wasn’t as fortunate.
“I do actually have one friend who was supposed to come to UT but couldn’t because she didn’t get FAFSA,” Facio said. “Maybe … something could’ve been different in the system to allow her to still come here because that was one of the main reasons she’s not here.”
Public health freshman Sukaina Aziz completed the 2018-19 FAFSA and has taken steps that she believes will increase her second application’s chances for consideration.
“I learned that FAFSA prioritizes students with jobs, and if you work during the school year … you are more likely to receive a greater amount,” Aziz said. “So I’ve been working for the past six months.”
The recommended FAFSA deadline is Jan. 15, but Manor encouraged students to complete the form as soon as possible.
“Filling out a FAFSA, the only cost is your time,” Manor said. “So to me it’s worth it just to go on and put that application out there because you never know what will happen or what can happen.”