Texas might be the Lone Star State, but that doesn’t mean you’re alone when it comes to paying for college.
As a resident of the state or a student attending a Texas school, you could be eligible for a variety of Texas grants for college. Because these are grants, not student loans, you don’t have to pay them back.
That might sound too good to be true, but more than half of all full-time students in the U.S. used grants to pay for college in the 2014-2015 school year, according to the College Board, a nonprofit organization.
So which Texas grants are available for state residents and incoming students? Read on for the full list.
TEXAS (Toward EXcellence, Access, and Success) Grant
Award amount: $9,050 per year
The largest of the state grant programs, the TEXAS Grant program disbursed over $339 million in the 2014-2015 school year alone.
To qualify for the TEXAS Grant, you must:
Be a Texas state resident
Have significant financial need, typically defined as having a nine-month Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of no more than $5,430
Be enrolled at least three-quarter time in a qualifying program
Maintain satisfactory academic progress, which is defined as a minimum 2.5 GPA and the successful completion of at least 75% of your courses
Be registered with Selective Service or be exempt
This program was available to vocational and community college students in the past, but it’s now limited to undergrads enrolled in four-year programs.
To receive this grant, you fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Since funds are limited, you should try to submit your FAFSA as soon as possible after the application process opens Oct. 1.
Texas Public Educational Grant (TPEG)
Award amount: varies by school but won’t be higher than your financial need
The Texas Public Education Grant is open to both residents and nonresidents of Texas as well as to international students. The TPEG goes to students with financial need who are attending a public Texas college.
Each college sets its own rules for distributing funding, and some schools have more grant money to give than others. Besides meeting the eligibility rules of your school, you must be registered for Selective Service or be exempt.
Qualifying students will automatically receive this grant in their financial aid package based on the information they provided on the FAFSA.
Texas Public Educational Grant (TPEG) for Continuing Education
Award amount: varies by school but won’t exceed your financial need
The TPEG for Continuing Education is available for state residents, nonresidents, and foreign students attending a continuing education program in Texas. Programs that would qualify include those for people studying air conditioning and refrigeration, commercial truck driving, and welding.
You must demonstrate financial need to receive this grant. Award amounts vary from school to school.
Along with submitting the FAFSA, you’ll need to send off the TPEG application. You should also speak with your program’s administrator or financial aid office for any school-specific instructions.
Texas Educational Opportunity Grant (TEOG)
Award amount: varies by type of school
The current maximum award amounts for the Texas Educational Opportunity Grant are as follows:
Public state colleges: $5,666 per year
Public technical institutes: $5,496 per year
Public community colleges: $3,010 per year
This grant provides funding for Texas residents enrolled in two-year colleges. To qualify, you must meet the following criteria:
Be a Texas resident
Have demonstrated financial need, defined as a nine-month EFC that doesn’t exceed $5,430
Be registered for Selective Service or be exempt
Be enrolled at least half time
Maintain satisfactory academic progress, typically defined as a minimum 2.5 GPA
Have not received a TEXAS Grant
To qualify for the TEOG, make sure to submit the FAFSA and check with your college’s financial aid office about any additional steps.
Tuition Equalization Grant (TEG)
Award amount: up to $3,364 for most students; up to $5,046 for undergrads with exceptional financial need
The Tuition Equalization Grant goes to students attending a private nonprofit college in Texas. In addition to proving financial need, you must:
Be a Texas resident or a nonresident National Merit Finalist
Maintain satisfactory academic progress, meaning you are enrolled on at least a three-quarter basis and have a GPA of at least 2.5
Be registered for Selective Service or be exempt
- Have not received an athletic scholarship
Show you’re paying more for private college than you would at a public college
You need to submit only the FAFSA to be considered for TEG funding. If you’re not sure about your eligibility, you should reach out to your college’s financial aid office to discuss your individual situation.
Top 10 Percent Scholarship
Award amount: varies by school
The Top 10 Percent Scholarship is meant to encourage students in the top 10% of their class to attend public colleges in Texas. In addition, you must demonstrate financial need and enroll full time in a Texas state college or university.
You also must maintain a GPA of at least 3.25 at a public two-year or four-year college in Texas.
You don’t need to take extra steps to apply apart from submitting the FAFSA. Your college will notify you if you receive this scholarship.
Hazlewood Act Exemption
Award amount: up to 150 credit hours of tuition and fees
The Hazlewood Act Exemption isn’t a traditional grant. Rather, it covers up to 150 credit hours’ worth of tuition and fees at state colleges and universities for veterans or children or spouses of veterans.
If you’re a veteran, you must have served 181 days or more in active duty and been honorably discharged. Children or spouses of veterans who were killed or permanently disabled during their military service also might qualify. Along with meeting other requirements, children of veterans can’t be more than 25 years old.
After filling out the required paperwork, you can submit it to your college’s financial aid office.
Additional opportunities for Texas grants and scholarships
Texas also offers grants for specific situations, such as for students in the armed services or for those who plan to study accounting.
If you have a unique situation, consider these alternative Texas grants:
- Texas Armed Services Scholarship Program
Kenneth H. Ashworth Fellowship Program (for graduate students studying public affairs, public service, or public administration)
Whatever your situation, make sure to speak with your high school counselor about opportunities for grants and scholarships.
If you’re already in college, contact your financial aid office to learn more about institutional grants. Finally, make the most of scholarship search tools to find scholarships from private organizations.
Everyone can apply for federal grants
While Texas grants are earmarked for Texas residents or students going to Texas colleges, federal grants are available to everyone.
In fact, 82% of the financial aid that goes to Texas students comes from federal sources, according to a 2017 report titled State of Student Aid and Higher Education in Texas by TG Research. Only 7% comes from the state, and an additional 11% comes from Texas colleges.
Federal grants include the following:
Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant
Iran and Afghanistan Service Grant
Since much of the federal, state, and institutional financial aid is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, submitting the FAFSA early will increase your chances of getting help.
Make the most of Texas grants to pay for college
The state of Texas offers millions of dollars in grant money to college students, especially to those with demonstrated financial need.
These grants can go a long way toward helping you cover college costs. According to the TG Research report, costs averaged $22,348 per year at public four-year universities and $17,286 at two-year colleges in Texas in the 2015-2016 school year.
To put yourself in the running for these grants, make sure you submit the FAFSA with the most up-to-date information about yourself and your family.
Speak with your high school counselor and your college’s financial aid office about alternative opportunities.
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