Financial Assistance

Assistantships

  • A graduate assistantship, teaching (GAT), research (GAR), and non-teaching (GANT), is available to a qualified student on a competitive basis. Students holding graduate assistantships work an average of 20 hours per week. Most assistantships are awarded through the applicant’s academic department. An applicant should contact the department head or graduate advisor concerning the availability of assistantships. The Student Employment Office posts assistantship opportunities via Jobs for Aggies.
  • A graduate student (domestic or international) must register for the appropriate number of University semester credit hours to maintain full-time status during any semester (9 hours for spring and fall) or summer term (6 hours in any combination) in which they hold an assistantship.  Program requirements may impose additional semester credit hour requirements for a student holding an assistantship which exceeds the minimum stated above.
  • According to Texas Education Code, Sec. 54.212, a teaching assistant or research assistant of any institution of higher education and the spouse and children of such a teaching assistant or research assistant are entitled to register in a state institution of higher education by paying the tuition fees and other fees or charges required for Texas residents under Section 54.051 of this code, without regard to the length of time the assistant has resided in Texas, if the assistant is employed at least one-half time in a teaching or research assistant position which relates to the assistant's degree program under rules and regulations established by the employer institution. Transferred and re-designated from Education Code, Section 54.063 by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 359, Sec. 1, eff. January 1, 2012.

Fellowships

Graduate students holding fellowships are not required to perform any services.  Therefore, a fellowship holder is not considered an employee and FICA regulations do not apply. A graduate student (domestic or international) holding a fellowship administered through the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies (except for the TAMU Dissertation Fellowship) must register for a minimum of:

  • 9 semester credit hours during a fall or spring semester;
  • 6 hours in any combination for summer.

Outside entities who administer fellowships, Colleges and departments may adhere to the same or exceed the minimum semester credit hour requirements stated above. A Q grade before the 12th class day does not count toward the certification of enrollment status.. A graduate student concurrently holding a fellowship with a one-quarter time assistantship normally has the same registration requirements as a student holding a one-half time assistantship.

Many competitive fellowships of $1,000 or greater per academic year also allow students to pay tuition at the in-state rate. Fellowships packages vary from $1,000 to over $30,000, and some include funds for insurance, tuition, and fees.

Changes in Status that Impact Financial Assistance

Dropping or q-dropping a course affects a student’s enrollment status.  In turn, enrollment status may impact certain funding sources.  The following document describes these impacts.  ALL international and domestic graduate students should refer to the text below for detailed information regarding this important issue. 

  • Enrollment Status – A student’s enrollment status continues to be adjusted throughout the semester when a student drops or q-drops a course.  However, in most cases, the change in status has minimal impact, depending on timing or recent changes in laws. The impact is primarily on student loan repayment.
  • Health Insurance – In the past, students often needed to maintain full-time enrollment to continue to be covered under their parents’ health insurance policy.  With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), that is no longer required.  A dependent can now be covered under their parents’ insurance plan until the age of 26 regardless of their enrollment status as a student.
  • Financial Aid and Scholarships – Timing matters on when a student drops a course.  Financial aid checks enrollment status on two occasions – when a student’s aid is released to their billing account and on 12th class day.  A student’s aid amount can be adjusted if the student’s enrollment status changes between the time funds are disbursed to the billing account and the 12th class day.  However, after the 12th class day, enrollment status is not a factor for aid that has already disbursed and instead any changes in enrollment status will be reviewed through financial aid’s satisfactory academic progress standards for subsequent semesters and will not impact current semester aid.  If aid has not been disbursed prior to the 12th class day, then the enrollment status on the date the aid is disbursed is what matters.
  • Non-Resident Tuition Waiver Tied to Graduate Assistantship -  Approximately one week prior to the 20th class day, SBS will notify departments to review graduate students who have not met all eligibility criteria.  SBS will provide a deadline for departments to respond prior to removing the waiver. Departments will then review each graduate student and provide SBS with documentation of eligibility for graduate students who are eligible for the waiver although their record in BPP and/or Compass may not reflect eligibility.  Graduate students that do not meet all eligibility criteria as of the 20th class day will have their waiver removed. 
    • Employment must be for the entire semester in which the student is enrolled and actual paid work must commence on or before the official census date for the term (12th class day for fall and spring, 4th class day for summer), to be eligible for a nonresident tuition waiver.
    • Terms used to describe qualifying positions are intended to indicate an academic position, not a position title.
    • Volunteer or unpaid work does not constitute employment.
    • Student worker positions do not qualify for non-resident tuition waivers.
  • Student Loan Repayment – Enrollment status IS a factor for when a graduate student enters repayment on their student loans even after the 12th class day.  Graduate students must maintain at least half-time enrollment throughout the semester or the graduate student’s grace period for loan repayment will be triggered and the graduate student can be required to begin repaying their student loan. Changes in enrollment status from full-time to half-time have no consequence in this scenario.  Only changes that result in the graduate student being less than half-time have an impact.  For the record, half-time enrollment for a graduate student is 5 hours and for a professional student, it is 6 hours.
  • International Graduate Assistants

The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of States requires students on F-1 and J-1 visas/status to be enrolled in a full course of study.  Undergraduate students are required to enroll for 12 semester hours per term.  A full course of study at the graduate level is certified by the international student advisors, Designated School Official (DSO).  ISS uses the University’s definition of full course of study for graduate students.

International students on F-1 visas have limited reasons they can drop below full-time enrollment and maintain their immigration status.  There are three basic reasons the F-1 students can below hours.

  1. Medical Condition
  2. Academic difficulties

a.F-1 students can only use it once for improper course level placement or initial difficulties in English proficiency, difficulty with US teaching methods, or reading requirements and can drop to 6 hours.

3. Academic difficulties

F-1 students need ISS approval before dropping below full-time enrollment.  If a student drops below full-time enrollment without ISS approval, then the student will be out of status and will have to stop working on campus and apply to get back in legal status.  This may require leaving the United States.  Students request the reduced course load by submitting the reduced course load form that has been signed by the academic advisor and graduate advisor.  ISS inputs the approved reduced course load into SEVIS.

F-1 Reduced Course load form

http://iss.tamu.edu/ISS/media/ISS-Files/ISS-PDF/Current%20Students/F-1-Reduced-Course-Load.pdf

Students on a J-1 visa/status may have a reduced course load if

1. There is a documented medical illness

2. There is a bona fide academic reason

3. It is the final term.

J-1 students need ISS approval before dropping below full-time enrollment.  If a student drops below full-time enrollment without ISS approval, then the student will be out of status and will have to stop working on campus and apply to get back in legal status.  Students request the reduced course load by submitting the reduced course load form that has been signed by the academic advisor and graduate advisor. 

J-1 Reduced Course load form

http://iss.tamu.edu/ISS/media/ISS-Files/ISS-PDF/Current%20Students/J-1-Reduced-Course-Load-(Update)_new.pdf

If the Registrar codes F-1 or J-1 students as full-time even if though they are below hours, then the students are considered as engaged in a full-course of study.  There is an interesting clause in the F-1 regulations that discusses students employed for scholarship, fellowship or assistantship may apply for a reduced course load.

  • Reduced course load - The designated school official may allow an F-1 student to engage in less than a full course of study. Except as otherwise noted, a reduced course load must consist of at least six semester or quarter hours, or half the clock hours required for a full course of study. A student who drops below a full course of study without the prior approval of the DSO will be considered out of status. On-campus employment pursuant to the terms of a scholarship, fellowship, or assistantship is deemed to be part of the academic program of a student otherwise taking a full course of study.

Therefore, in most cases, the q-dropped course would not need to be replaced with another course or research hours.

Scholarships & Financial Aid

The mission of Scholarships & Financial Aid is to provide students with information and financial resources to attend Texas A&M University, along with support programs that promote higher education and developmental opportunities. As a part of this commitment, we strive to provide financial solutions to students at all income levels and with varying academic, merit and leadership qualifications.

The need-based financial assistance program is designed for all students who have a demonstrated financial need, as defined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), in order to assist the student in paying college expenses. All financial aid is contingent upon student enrollment and making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), as defined by Scholarships & Financial Aid or the specific aid program.

Financial aid has two forms: gift aid and self-help.

Gift Aid Self-Help
Grants (Federal, State, Institutional)Loans (Federal, State, Institutional Alternative)
ScholarshipsStudent Employment (Work Study, Part-time Employment, Internships, Assistantships)
Non-resident Tuition Waivers

Texas A&M University’s packaging philosophy for need-based financial aid is to provide the greatest amount of gift aid to those students with the highest demonstrated need and to keep loan liability to a minimum. Financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis with a published priority date of March 15 prior to the fall semester for which the student is seeking aid. Financial aid offers are made based on the assumption that students will enroll full-time in the fall and spring semesters. Cost of attendance and awards will be adjusted for graduate and professional students who are enrolled less than full-time at Texas A&M University (as defined by academic program/level).

To apply for financial assistance, a student must submit a FAFSA. Students are encouraged to submit their FAFSA on the Internet at https://fafsa.gov as soon as possible. Only those students who have been accepted for enrollment and whose FAFSA results and other documents requested by Scholarships & Financial Aid are on file will be sent a financial aid offer. Financial aid offers will be sent beginning in June for the following academic year. Summer financial assistance is offered to students with a FAFSA on file who enroll in summer coursework at Texas A&M.

The FAFSA is available via the Internet at https://fafsa.gov, most college or university student financial aid offices, or by contacting:

Scholarships & Financial Aid
Texas A&M University
P. O. Box 30016
College Station, TX 77842-3016
(979) 845-3236
financialaid@tamu.edu
FAFSA School Code 003632

Please visit our website for the most current information on programs and any associated deadlines.

Loan Programs

The Federal Direct Loan Programs are available to students who have submitted a FAFSA. Students will be notified of eligibility for the Direct Loan program(s) through a financial aid offer.

Graduate and professional students seeking the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS (Grad PLUS) Loan may obtain information from our website. This program also requires the FAFSA to be on file with Scholarships & Financial Aid.

Short-term loans are available to provide assistance to students who experience temporary financial difficulties with educationally related expenses. Funding for this program is provided by The Association of Former Students, the Class of 1926, and other University resources. This program is not intended to provide long-term assistance or to replace other assistance available through Scholarships & Financial Aid. Students must be degree-seeking and enrolled at least half-time in order to be eligible for short-term loans.

The Emergency Tuition and Required Fees loan program is available to help students pay their Texas A&M University tuition and required fees. The loan is applied directly to the student’s tuition and fee account.

Please refer to our website for detailed information on the aforementioned programs and more.

Scholarships

Continuing Student Scholarships

The University Scholarship Application is available to students with at least one semester completed at Texas A&M. Awards range in value from $500 to $1,500 and are available to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students currently enrolled at Texas A&M. Some awards are limited to certain fields of study and to individuals who have attained a necessary academic classification, while other awards are unrestricted. Awards are made to outstanding students based on a combination of academic achievement, campus/community involvement, campus leadership roles, and, for some scholarships, financial need. In addition to scholarships offered through the Scholarships & Financial Aid office, many colleges, departments, the Corps of Cadets, and the Texas A&M Foundation use the Continuing Student Academic Excellence application for award consideration. Students are encouraged to complete the Continuing Student Scholarship Application, beginning in October via the Scholarships website. The deadline for submitting applications is February 1, prior to the academic year for which the student seeks an award.

Scholarship Recipients and Non-Resident Tuition Waivers

A student who is awarded a competitive University scholarship of at least $1,000 for the academic year or summer for which the student is enrolled and who is either a non-resident or a citizen of a country other than the United States of America may be entitled to pay the fees and charges required of Texas residents without regard to the length of time the student has resided in Texas. This scholarship must be awarded by a scholarship committee officially recognized by the Texas A&M University administration, and each waiver must be approved. For applicable recipients, selective service registration is required.

Other Scholarship Information

Students are encouraged to contact their college and major department for additional scholarship opportunities. Additionally, Scholarships & Financial Aid has information regarding scholarship resources available online.

Address requests for additional information to:

Texas A&M University
Scholarships & Financial Aid
P. O. Box 30016
College Station, TX 77842-3016
(979) 845-3236
scholarships@tamu.edu
 

Student Part-Time Employment

In addition to the assistantships and fellowships offered by academic departments and coordinated by OGAPS, the Student Employment Office in Scholarships & Financial Aid coordinates student part-time employment, both off- and on-campus in the Bryan/College Station area. Students may visit the online job database. Work Study, assistantships and other part-time positions are posted. Students secure their own employment through job leads provided by Scholarships & Financial Aid or through their own initiative.

On-campus student employees are paid minimum wage or higher and are paid bi-weekly along with regular University employees. University student employees are not eligible for paid holidays, retirement, vacation, nor sick leave.

Professional development workshops are also available for student employees and supervisors of student employees. These free workshops include topics ranging from communication skills to preventing sexual harassment in the workplace and from customer service to workplace etiquette.  For more information or to register, please visit the Jobs for Aggies website or call (979) 845-0686.

The Money Education (ME) Center

The Money Education (ME) Center opens Fall 2016 and will provide the following free resources to all students in order to help them make wise personal finance decisions and to lay a foundation for financial success throughout life.

- Money Wise Aggie Workshops – presentations covering budgeting, credit cards and credit scores, saving and investing, student loans, and more. Scheduled presentations occur on-campus each semester and are provided in classrooms and to student organizations upon request.
- Money Wise Aggie Financial Foundations Series – a series of presentations covering the most critical personal finance topics
- Advising – one-on-one personal financial counseling
- moneywise.tamu.edu – our website offers personal finance content and videos
- SALTTM (saltmoney.org/tamu) – provides scholarship, student loan, and personal finance information and tools

To learn more about these free resources, visit moneywise.tamu.edu or contact money@tamu.edu.