Understanding your options
Applying for financial aid is an important step toward getting help with your SFA expenses. Your financial assistance offers could fall into as many as four general categories:
Before applying for aid, we encourage you to consider each type carefully, and make sure you understand how it would work.
Like grants, scholarships are financial awards that don’t have to be repaid. Some are based on financial need, but unlike grants, scholarships also can be based on accomplishments (academic, athletic or leadership), extracurricular activities, service — even a winning essay contest entry.
Scholarship providers run the gamut, from SFA to businesses, foundations, religious organizations, nonprofits and community groups. That means there are hundreds of opportunities available for you to get scholarship funding to help you with your SFA expenses.
Unlike other forms of financial assistance, you’ll need to apply for most scholarships individually, and the process will vary by program. You can apply for SFA scholarship opportunities from mySFA.
In the world of financial aid, grants are one of the best awards you can receive. That’s because grants are essentially gifts. You receive a set amount of money from the government or the institution to help with your university expenses, and you don’t have to pay it back as long as you follow the grant’s guidelines. However, if you withdraw from school before a semester is complete, you may be required to refund some or all of your grant money.
In the Federal work-study program, you work part-time to earn money that can offset the cost of your education. In some cases, work-study can also open the door to professional experiences and networking opportunities related to your major.
When you take out a student loan, you’re borrowing money that you’ll need to repay with interest. Not all student loans are the same. Some have lower interest rates than others. Some allow you to postpone your payments while you’re unemployed, returning to school or serving in the military.
Applying for financial aid
Filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step toward receiving most forms of financial aid.
Waivers and exemptions
You have other options for help with your SFA expenses, too. You might qualify for a tuition exemption or a waiver from some of your tuition costs. Exemptions are a type of financial assistance that allow some Texas residents to attend a public college or a university without paying tuition or fees. A waiver is the reduction of non-resident tuition rates to resident rates.