What is financial aid?
Financial aid can help you pay for tuition, housing and other expenses. The aid package you receive depends on several factors, including your unique financial situation and the type of funding available.
Types of Aid
Scholarships are financial awards that don’t have to be repaid.
Some are based on financial need, but scholarships also can be based on accomplishments, such as:
- academic merit
- athletic ability
- extracurricular activities
- or even winning an essay contest.
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.
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, and some allow you to postpone your payments.
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.
A waiver is the reduction of non-resident tuition rates to resident rates.
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.
The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships can answer your questions and tell you about assistance opportunities, from scholarships to our Purple Promise assistance program. And we’ll be there to guide you through every step of the application process.
Who is eligible for aid?
Financial aid eligibility and the amount of awards are based on a family’s demonstrated economic need.
Basically, financial aid is meant to cover the difference between what you and your family can contribute to your education expenses each year and any college costs (your tuition, fees, room and board, supplies) that exceed that contribution. It picks up where your family’s ability to pay leaves off.
How do I apply for aid?
Regardless of the type of aid, you'll need to complete a FASFA and meet certain requirements. We’re here to help you before, during and after the application process.
There is no charge for completing the FAFSA. You may receive communications from companies or organizations offering to help you complete your FAFSA for a fee. Do not pay anyone to complete your FAFSA.
Stay informed with mySFA
What is mySFA? It’s your go-to site for registering for classes, paying tuition, getting grades and much, much more. It’s also your connection to financial assistance.
Your mySFA account provides you with real-time access to view requested documents or awards, as well as a way to check for holds and other messages. You can also review our tools and information section for other handy information. If you do not have a financial aid tab in mySFA, this means that SFA has not yet received your FAFSA application from the Department of Education. If you feel there is ever an error with FAFSA processing, please contact our office.
We’ll send all of your financial aid communications to your mySFA email address. If you’re a financial assistance applicant or recipient, we recommend checking your mySFA email at least once a week, so you can respond to messages and make sure your financial aid processing isn’t delayed. If you receive financial aid offers, you’ll need to accept them within 60 days of receiving your award notice within your mySFA account.
Financial aid for transfer students
If you received a TEXAS (Towards EXcellence, Access and Success) Grant at your previous school, you might be able to renew those awards at SFA. To find out, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, ID number, type of award received and the college or university you were attending when you received it.
Financial aid for study abroad
If you are interested in a study abroad program, you may check with our office to find out if you have financial aid eligibility available for the trip. To find out more information regarding potential scholarships and general information about study abroad, visit the Office of International Programs Study Abroad webpage.