6 Best Ways to Pay for Texas A&M University

Becoming an Aggie is considered to be an honor and a privilege for many; and while that may be an honor worth going into debt for, the cost of attending Texas A&M University should be a top priority for anyone who is considering making the move to College Station. Our research indicates that your average Aggie spends approximately $27,000 annually on Tuition & Fees (in-state), Housing, Supplies, Books and Meals. We have found that college students these days will likely need several funding options at their disposal in order to earn degrees and to be better positioned for a bright financial future. Here are the top 6 best ways to pay for Texas A&M University… and a couple may surprise you:

  1. Texas A&M Grants: Grants are financial aid that you don’t have to pay back…. That’s right…. FREE MONEY! If you are in the position where you will need student loans of any kind, you will first need to fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) this application is to see whether you qualify for federal (government) grants or federal student loans. Some schools require this as your first step before you can apply for institutional (TAMU) loans. Be aware that The FAFSA will need to be filled out every year in order to maintain your federal funding. Here are a list of Federal and State need-based Grants worth looking in to:

  • Federal Pell Grant: Receive up to $6,095 (2018) if you can demonstrate your financial hardship and are an undergraduate student.
  • TEXAS Grant: this grant has many eligibility requirements like a 2.5 GPA, TX residency, but it might be worth it as it can pay out as much as $2500 a year.
  • TECH Grant: A grant focused on students who plan on teaching in-demand STEM subjects to low-income students. If you qualify it could pay off big time as the awards are up to potentially $10,000 per student.
  • Texas Public Education Grant: If you qualify there is a limited amount of dollars available, but it is worth looking in to as they weigh your financial need when allotting funds and each institution is able to set its own grant amount.

For more school-specific resources see: Texas A&M’s Financial Aid Website.

  1. Texas A&M Scholarships: Scholarships are merit-based, meaning that you will need to be a high-achiever in one or more categories like academics, extra-curricular activities or belonging to specific organizations to be considered. Here are some top Texas A&M Scholarship opportunities to consider:

  • Regent’ Scholar Program: for first-generation college students this scholarship awards 900 students $5,000 per year for up to 4 years
  • Craig and Galen Brown Scholarship Program: This is for rigorous high acedemic achievement and comes with free housing, free summer trips to Italy, fast-track your interview process to the college of medicine, Engineering and more benefits like guidance and tutoring if you can qualify.
  • Century Scholarship: You must be a Century School graduate; Century Schools are a group of 110 under-represented Texas schools who have partnered with TAMU to represent their top students at the collegiate level. You must also maintain a 2.75 and if you qualify you stand to gain $5,000 a year with this scholarship

  1. Texas A&M Work-Study Programs: Work-Study programs are offered at many universities and colleges and offer a unique opportunity for college students to learn in the classroom and on the job. It is a need-based program and you must fill out a FAFSA application to qualify. Most of these programs require 10-20 hours of work per week. According to the TAMU Work-Study site The Student Employment Office is designed to help students pursue their educational goals by providing employment resources and professional development opportunities. Additionally, the Student Employment Office provides the human resources function for students and employers of students at Texas A&M University.”

  1. Texas A&M University Student Loans: You may be surprised to learn that many institutions of higher learning offer in-house Student Loans and A&M is no exception. Here are the available loan types:

  • Emergency – this 90-day loan is to be able to meet your tuition and fee due date and should be paid back as soon as possible.
  • Short-Term Loans are for students who have found themselves in difficult financial situations and need financial help.

For more information please see their business services department.

  1. Federal Student Loans: After all the free money options are exhausted more than half of college students still need help to meet their funding needs while working towards their degrees. The next best option is often a Federal Loan. The most popular option is a subsidized loan. A subsidized loan is a loan where the government pays the interest of the loan while you are in school, the logic being that while you are preparing to be an income earner you shouldn’t have the added burden of accruing interest while you work to earn your degree…. Good logic! The federal government will continue to pay the interest of your loan for up to six months after graduation as well, presumably to give you time to find a job…go get’em, tiger!

There is also a type of federal student loan available for Aggie parents called a Parent Plus Student Loan. This loan is for parents of A&M students. The parent takes out the loan in their name using their credit score and credentials and then uses that loan to help the student pay for school. These loans typically have higher origination fees and interest rates as well as shorter payment terms.

The major perks of federal loans are the protections that borrowers are offered these protections look after you in the short and long-term, thanks, Uncle Sam! Here are a few of the protections that make federal loans a good option for funding your education at Texas A&M:

  • Fixed Interest Rates: Every year the federal interest rate for student loans nation-wide is set and fixed for as long as you hold the loan.
  • Hardship Deferment: in the case of financial hardship you may qualify for a deferment – meaning that the government will pause your payments until you are back on your feet.
  • Loan Forgiveness for Public Servants – if you are a public servant and meet the qualifications of the government, you can apply to have the loan forgiven. WHAT?!…. You must work for Federal, State, Local governments, a 501c3 non-profit, Ameri-corps or PeaceCorps in a full-time capacity.
  • Income-based repayment options.
  • Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE)
  • No credit check required

  1. Private Student Loans: Private student loans are a free-market solution to your college funding needs and are often the last stop on the funding road. You can attain these loans at any credit union, bank or online lender. With private loans, you are less protected than with federal loans but the free market can also open up opportunities for competition, which can mean lower interest rates, on-time payment interest forgiveness, hardship programs, and other perks.  While shopping for a lender ask about incentives or protections like hardship protection. Try to remember both the long and short-term financial goals and projects for your situation, but don’t worry too much just like home and auto loans…. Student loans can be refinanced multiple times, so there is a high likelihood that you will be able to refinance or consolidate your student loans after graduation for greater financial freedom and sustainability.

Interest rates, payment terms and general lend-a-bility will be considered based on several pieces of information including your credit score, if you are an incoming freshman with little-to-no credit you may be able to still gain a private student loan with the help of a co-signer (another adult who has good-excellent credit who will guarantee the repayment of the loan). It might be wise to consider taking out a credit card to help build your credit score. Use it for things you would normally pay cash for like groceries (not that 60 inch 4K TV) and pay the bill off every month. This kind of good financial management will increase your credit score which will come in handy after graduation when you are looking to refinance all these student loans!

If you are looking for the best ways to afford an education at Texas A&M, you are in good company, Texas A&M is the second largest Public University in the US with 66,069 students enrolled in the 2017-18 school year. That’s a lot of people searching for educational dollars.

  1. The first thing to do to make sure that you are minimizing your personal exposure is to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see what federal grants you may qualify for, The Texas A&M Financial Aid department should be able to assist you with this and help you find the money.
  2. Second is to research and apply scholarships that may be available to you, use our links above to get you started and take a look at Texas A&M’s scholarship page for more opportunities. If you are wanting to take a deep dive, the Texas Comptroller’s office has a master list of Texas scholarships available to Texas Undergrads – pack a lunch….you’re going to need it!
  3. Once you have a good idea of how much of a gap you will need to close, federal loans are your next best option. Again the TAMU Financial Aid Department will be able to assist you. Remember to make yourself aware of the protection benefits these loans offer you they can be game-changers.
  4. Once you have a good idea of the dollar amount you are able to attain through federal loans. There may still be a gap to fill…. If you still have a need for financial aid you can turn to the Private Loan sector for any remaining shortfall. Be sure to inquire about the perks that lenders are offering like interest forgiveness for on-time payments or hardship considerations, those perks can come in handy. As they say…. A dollar saved, is a dollar earned!

Here are our top private student loan lenders of 2018-2019:

Citations:

Texas A&M Scholarships

Wikipedia

College Scorecard

Department of Education

September 5, 2019

Mark Gibson

Mark Gibson is a personal finance consultant and wealth-investor.  Mark brings his top-notch financial analysis to his work at FiGuides as our lead consumer finance editor.

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