Everything you need to know about financial aid at SHSU
July 6, 2022 | 7 Min Read | Written by Katrina Thornton
Learn about the different types of financial aid available to SHSU students.
Maybe you're starting college for the first time; maybe you're returning after taking some time off, or maybe you're a transfer student ready to take the next step in your academic journey.
Whatever your situation is, maybe now you're wondering how you're going to pay for college. The good news is that there are resources to help you cover the upfront costs of your bachelor's degree.
Before you start, it's a good idea to know what your costs will be. You want to make sure you don't accept too little or too much after you're awarded. This is especially important if you apply for loans since you pay those back with interest.
Your First Step
Your first step should be to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is a federal program that automatically checks to see if you qualify for federal financial aid, such as grants (free money that is not repaid) and loans (borrowed funds that are repaid).
Also, the FAFSA is used by many colleges and states to determine your financial need, so it’s important that you submit the FAFSA even if you don’t plan on borrowing money.
Keep reading to learn more about the different types of financial aid that may be available to you.
Types of Aid
Grants are the best forms of financial aid to help you pay for college. Grants are considered “gift-aid” based on your financial need and are not repaid (except for rare occasions). By submitting the FAFSA, you are automatically considered for federal grants.
The State of Texas also offers grant opportunities: the TEXAS Grant and the Texas Public Educational Grant (TPEG). You must have a FAFSA or TASFA on file to be considered for these grants, and your institution's financial aid office will review your application to determine your eligibility. These grants tend to be limited - submit your FAFSA early!
Scholarships are another great way to pay for college. These monetary gifts can help reduce the cost of your education, and the best part is scholarships are free money that are not paid back (unless you withdraw from school or fail to maintain the requirements of the scholarship). Scholarships tend to be competitive and are considered merit based as they usually have specific criteria you must meet, such as a minimum GPA, major, extracurricular activities, etc.
To apply to SHSU scholarships, you must first be accepted to SHSU. The SHSU scholarship application opens September 1 for the following academic year and has a priority submission date of November 1. So the best thing to do is apply for scholarships early, which means you also need to apply for admission to SHSU early.
The SHSU scholarship portal (Scholarships4Kats) allows students to browse our more than 800 scholarships available to our students, including transfer and graduate students. You only have to fill out one application, and the system automatically recommends scholarship opportunities that match your application. All you have to do is click the apply button for each scholarship it recommends.
Work-study programs provide part-time employment to help you cover day-to-day expenses, like groceries and gas. Federal work-study funds are available for both on- and off-campus jobs while Texas work-study funds are only available for on-campus jobs.
Though the government provides the funds for a part-time job, you must apply to, interview for, and be offered the job. The best way to find an on- or off-campus job is to search on Handshake, SHSU’s job portal for students. You must be accepted to SHSU to create your Handshake account.
Both federal and Texas work-study programs require you to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Make sure to submit your FAFSA early and answer “Yes” to doing work study!
Loans are a good option to help you cover the bulk of your upfront costs. There are different types of loans available for students. Here we'll talk about federal, state, and alternative loans.
You can apply for federal loans through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It's important that you submit the FAFSA, even if you don't expect to borrow any money. The FAFSA automatically checks to see if you qualify for federal grants (which are not repaid), and the FAFSA is used by many colleges and states to determine your financial need.
Another benefit to federal loans is that your parents may qualify for a federal Parent PLUS Loan to help cover for your college expenses.
Are you a transfer student? Visit Transfer Students and the FAFSA to find out what you need to do to apply for federal student aid at SHSU.
Though federal loans are usually the most known government loan option, the State of Texas also offers state loans to students who are Texas residents enrolled in a Texas college or university. Additionally, the State of Texas offers the Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA). This application provides a financial aid option for Texas residents who do not qualify for federal aid.
Another loan option is alternative loans. These are third-party, non-government loans that should be your last resort as the interest rates may be higher than federal or state loans.
Your Next Steps
Now that you've submitted your FAFSA, it's time to apply for admission to SHSU (if you haven't already done so)! Once accepted, you can apply for scholarships, find a job through Handshake, and live your best life as an SHSU Bearkat!