How to Pay for College


Access and Affordability

The UT System is committed to making the financial aid process easier for prospective students and their families. Most students receive financial aid that will greatly reduce their costs, making college more affordable than they would have thought. See the many opportunities provided at the UT System  to make college – regardless of your income level –  a worthwhile and attainable opportunity.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much will college cost?

Tuition and fees varies widely depending on the school. In general, in-state is cheaper than out-of-state and public is cheaper than private. Even within these groups, however, there can be wide differences. You should check with the admissions office at each school you are considering attending.

A good source for information about paying for college is  College for Texans . Find out the cost of  Tuition and Fees  at UT institutions through their individual websites.

Don't forget, tuition, and fees are only one part of the cost of attending college. Books and supplies have to be considered. Whether you live on- or off-campus, there will be cost-of-living expenses for housing, food, and transportation. And there are always miscellaneous expenses for personal goods and entertainment.

There are several sites that offer budget worksheets to help students and potential students figure out their monthly cash flow.

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What are the requirements of the new tuition flexibility law for tuition set-asides for financial assistance?

20% of tuition increases approved by the UT System Board of Regents will be set aside for financial aid grants. Of this 20%, 5% goes to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for a new, forgivable loan program called the  "B-on-Time"  program.

The UT System is committed to tuition policies that enable low- and middle-income families to afford a high quality education for their sons and daughters.

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What kinds of financial aid are available?

The federal government provides about 70 percent of the student financial aid available across the country.

The largest amount of federal financial aid is loans (Stafford subsidized loans - now at 2.87% for enrolled students, and other loan programs) - total of $40 billion in 2001 (9.4 million students). Federal grants to students (Pell Grants) are about $8.7 billion a year (3.9 million students). Work-study programs are $1.01 billion (1 million students).The government also has a system of tax credits and tax deductions for tuition and fees.In addition, several State financial aid programs are available to help students. The  College for Texans  website has an excellent list of financial aid resources.Each of the UT campuses offers a range of additional scholarship and grants, many of which are funded through private donations. See each individual  campus financial aid and scholarship website  for more information.

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Are there tax benefits for the families of students enrolled in college?

Yes, there are tax deductions and tax credits.  See the IRS for more information.

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How do I find financial assistance for my child's education?

There are many federal, state, local, and private sources of financial aid. Some are merit-based (based on a student's academic record or other activities), some are need-based (based on a family's income). Financial aid can include grants and scholarships or loans and work-study. The resources available are different for each university, so it is important to speak with the  UT Financial Aid Office  at the universities you are considering.

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How can I reduce the financial demands of a college education?

Encourage your children to take more credits per semester and to graduate on time. Each additional semester spent in school beyond a traditional four years results in additional living expense and additional time out of the job market, or extends the time away from graduate and professional schools. In addition, learn about all the types of financial aid that are available and take advantage of these programs. Every college and university offers free financial aid counseling.

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What resources are available for financial aid?

Following is a list of some resources that may be available to you:

The  College for Texans  website has an excellent list of financial aid resources.

Federal Pell Grant  is for undergraduates and is based on need. 

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant  is given to undergraduates with need. 

TEXAS Grants  are awarded to undergraduates with financial need. Many other states offer similar programs.  Federal and State Loan Programs  are usually available to almost every student and are not dependent on financial need. Payments on student loans can often be deferred until after the student is no longer enrolled in university. 

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What is a Stafford Loan?

With the  Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan , you have the option either to pay the interest during in-school periods, or to let it accumulate (accrue) and be added to your loan amount (capitalize) when you begin repayment after you are out of school. Borrow as little as possible overall, and only when necessary to meet your costs, from these more expensive loan programs.

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What is the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized loans?

If you are awarded a subsidized loan, the federal government pays the interest charged during periods of at least half-time enrollment, as well as during the six months after you cease to be enrolled at least half-time (graduation, withdrawal). 

It is generally recommended that individuals borrow as much as possible from these programs before borrowing from unsubsidized loan programs to save on interest charges. For unsubsidized loans, interest is due and payable as soon as the first disbursement of loan funds is made by your lender.

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What is the TEXAS Grant program? Who qualifies?

The  TEXAS Grant program  provides a grant for eligible students to attend public and private nonprofit institutions of higher education in Texas. A qualified student will be a Texas resident with financial need and an expected family contribution of no more than $8,500 who has applied for any available financial aid or assistance and has not been previously granted a baccalaureate degree. Students must enroll at least three-quarter time in an undergraduate degree or certificate program at a Texas non-profit college or university.

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What are Pell Grants? Who qualifies?

Federal Pell Grants  generally are awarded to families making less than $40,000. A Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. Generally, Pell Grants are awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's or professional degree. (A professional degree is usually earned after earning a bachelor's degree in a field such as medicine, law, or dentistry.) In some cases, you might receive a Pell Grant for attending a post-baccalaureate teacher certificate program.  Click here for more information.

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What other options are available?

Federal Work-Study / State Work-Study funds are limited and are awarded until depleted to undergraduate students who show a calculated financial need and who requested employment awards on the  Free Application for Federal Student Aid . University scholarships are most often awarded based on academic merit, although some are given based on financial need. Check with the  Financial Aid and Scholarship  at your university for more information.

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How do I find out more about financial aid?

Almost everyone qualifies for some form(s) of financial aid. Here are some sites that will help you find out about resources.

Financial Aid and Scholarship  offices of the 15 University of Texas campus web sites.  Free Application for Federal Student Aid  provides online forms, information, and guidelines for federal student aid. This site is a must-see if you plan to receive financial assistance from the U.S. government. ( Llene su Solicitud FAFSA en Español )
 is a great resource on financial aid, loans, scholarships, savings plans, and military aid. 

Federal Student Aid Programs
 (U.S. Department of Education) website where you'll find help for every stage of the financial aid process, whether you're in school or out of school.

Funding Your Education
 If you have not yet enrolled in college or any kind of postsecondary school, you should read this, an introductory publication that gives an overview of the Student Financial Assistance Programs and of how to apply for aid. ( Cómo pagar su educación )

The Student Guide
 ( Guía para estudiantes ) If you're already enrolled in college, you may want to consult the Student Guide, which provides more information about the aid process while you're in school. 

Financial Aid Supersite  provides reviews of some of the more popular FAFSA-related sites and programs for free and offers for-hire financial aid guidance services.

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